NEW COINS FROM
ftomelg Dints from f>olg Writ
152, FLEET STREET, E.C.
• JOYFUL NEWS" DEP6T, MILNROW ROAD.
A GREAT preacher once said, " There is
nothing new under the sun." We
are not sure that we know what he meant,
and it is a question whether we shall ever
have the opportunity of asking him. Per-
haps he meant that, in the world of ideas,
as in matter, there is only a certain amount
of capital, and that change the form as you
will, you cannot add to the whole without
you can create, — and few of us lay claim to
It is in accordance with this idea that
the title of the book was chosen. The
writer does not claim to have found out
how to make gold, but he thinks the coin
bears his image and superscription. Nor
does he claim literary merit, but feels
anxious to do good, and especially to put
some heart into Christian workers ; and he
will be glad if only he has learned " to
speak a word in season to him that is
I. HOW AND WHERE TO BEGIN
II. THE GRANARY OF GOD
III. THE FARMER'S GIFT
IV. THE HOLY TENT
V. THE HOLY CHEST
VI. THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
VII. WINNING GOD'S BATTLES
VIII. THE HEAVENLY WORKMAN .
IX. THE LADDER
X. FINDING THE TRIBUTE MONEY
XL WAITING IN MERCY*S HOUSE
XII. A GOOD MAN'S BAD SON
XIII. GLEANING ....
XIV. "VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF ME" 154
XV. STONING THE GODS l68
XVI. THE HISTORY OF A LETTER 1 79
XVII. WORKING FOR THE KING 1 93
XVIII. ROPES AND RAGS . . <- 2o5
XIX. THE LOST AXE . . 222
XX. WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST
XXI. THE BATTLE OF MICHMASH . 255
HOW AND WHERE TO BEGIN.
John ii. i-n.
f X 7 HERE did Jesus begin? He must
begin somewhere. Where is it to
be ? He had all the world before Him.
Shall it be at Jerusalem ? There will be a
crowd of admirers. Yes, there will be a
crowd, but that is just the difference be-
tween the Christ and impostors. He does
not seek a large audience. There is no
vulgarity about the chosen of God. Where
shall Jesus begin ? In a palace ? No ; for
Jesus then, as now, loved a cottage. It is
to be in a house where a carpenter's widow
will be an honoured guest. The pearl of
great price is independent of casket or set-
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ting, and needs not earthly splendour to
make Him attractive. Where did Jesus
begin ? * At Cana, near to home. It is a
poor look-out when a man has to leave home
to be popular. And if we have Jesus in our
hearts, He will affect our home. He shall
change dulness to brightness, and water to
wine. We shall need true religion to be
effective near to home. It is of no use
talking of heavenly things to those who
know what earth-worms we are. If we
preach to those who know our lives are un-
worthy, they will bid us take a dose of our
own physic. Where shall Jesus begin ? At
a funeral? No; a wedding. Some people
can imagine Christ coming to comfort* but
they cannot understand His coming to make
glad. If we have Jesus at our amusements,
He will not shun us in our grief. Ask Him
■ to the wedding, and in the silence of the
house where our dead lie in the darkened
chamber, we shall hear Him whisper, "I
HOW AND WHERE TO BEGIN. 3
will never leave thee, I will never forsake
"His disciples" were asked. — And who
have so much right at the wedding ? 'Who
have the same right to laugh and make
merry as those whom Christ has chosen?
The man who is going to heaven has a
right to smile even when other men weep,
and at a wedding he sees a parable. The
bride is to share all her husband has, and
the disciple remembers, that to be joined to
Christ is to be a sharer of all the riches of
God. The disciples were invited. Some
men would like to have Christ, but not His
Church. The Saviour, but not the saved.
They are willing to meet them in heaven,
but not in the same town. 'Will not such
people feel a little ashamed in heaven ; if
they should ever come to the company of
the firstborn ?
There was want at a wedding! — That is
not what we look for, but at Cana "they
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wanted wine." Perhaps Christ's disciples
had increased in number before the wed-
ding-day, but He took them all. Whenever
God causes inconvenience He will Himself
relieve us. We never need fear the em-
barrassment of success in the Lord's work.
If He enlists more soldiers, He will find
weapons and rations. Let our young readers
mark, there was want at a wedding. Most
young folks look forward to their marriage,
that is, if they are the best kind of people
for this world. Some people are so refined
they do not care for such matters. However,
we do not write for those who are more
spiritual than the Bible. So let those who
are looking forward to a nest of their own
remember, that " settling " is not a synonym
for marrying. It is most likely you may be
more unsettled then than now. Life is the
sphere of want. While you are in this world
you will have to share its fortunes. The
writer was in the Tower of London the other
HOW AND WHERE TO BEGIN. 5
day, and saw the regalia of England. There
were some splenaid crowns, the diamonds
and other jewels were a wondrous sight, and
these were the Queen's; and yet the head-
dress she wears mostly is not any of these
jewelled diadems. The same day he looked
into a print-shop window at the newest por-
trait of Her Majesty, and on her head was
a widow's cap ! Whatever else you have to
leave out, be sure to have the love of God
in your preparations for the wedding. Then
Christ can make a crust delicious, and you
may write on purse, cupboard, bookshelves,
and even gravestone, " My God shall supply
all your need."
At the beginning Christ compelled Nature
to take her proper place. — It is well to do this
at the beginning. Begin as you mean to
hold out. The mother of Jesus was there.
She had been used to rule her Son. His
Father has owned Him. " This is my beloved
Son," had been said ; " henceforth it is meat
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and drink to do" my Father's will." And so
when Nature would control Grace, she is
gently pushed on one side with, " What have
I to do with thee?" Had the gentle Son
confided to His mother the feelings of His
heart, which told Him of wondrous popu-
larity ? and had the mother seen herself great
in consequence ? And now she is to be
nothing ! Was this the sword which was
to pierce her heart ? What is the natural
tie as compared with the bond which makes
one the whole of the believers in Jesus ?
" Whosoever shall do the will of God, the
same is my brother and my sister and
Let us see to it that Nature takes her
place. If God asks for child, or gold, or
time, or life, let not Nature keep them back.
Duty, not pleasure, must be the mainspring
of action. Conscience, not appetite, should
steer. Nature may be allowed to find the
sails. Loyalty to Christ must be the helm.
HOW AND WHERE TO BEGIN. 7
Like Peter, who knew naturally all about
fishing, but did not say, " Master, you are a
carpenter, I am a fisherman, and am sure
it is useless to go out now." No ; he said,
"Nevertheless at Thy word. Never mind
that others will laugh me to scorn as they
see me put out to sea. They have not
heard Thee speak the word of command,
and they will laugh very differently when
I call them to come and help me store
the fish." Let Nature wait, her hour will
come. It is well for her when she is willing
to fall behind, and whisper to the servants,
brain and muscle, pen and sword, "What-
soever He saith unto you, do it."
In studying Christ's conduct at the begin-
ning, we may learn HOW TO WORK FOR
God. — " There were set there six water pots
of stone." God uses that which is "set there."
When He made man He did not take part
of the materials of heaven : the dust of the
ground was set there. And so Jesus did
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not send away for wine. When He wants
channels of grace, He moulds them out of
the earth. His missionaries are not angels,
but men. Do not let us despise the vessels of
His grace because they are familiar. Why
should He not bless the pulpit in our church
or chapel ? Why should He not bless our
own family altar? Why should He not
call out of your class at Sunday-school
some Moffat, or Hunt, or Martyn ?
We should do well to imitate the servants.
How willingly they worked. " Fill the water-
pots with water." No question. No saying
of— "Water at a wedding!" No fault-find-
ing, but instant obedience. They filled
them — and with more than obedience, en-
thusiasm—" to the brim." One of the wants
of the Church is gleeful, enthusiastic service.
One wonders to see men on 'change, and
compare them when in church. The news-
paper is conned as the Bible never is. Give
us men and women who will obey Christ
HOW AND WHERE TO BEGIN. 9
as the servants did, and the water of their
poor talents shall be changed into the wine
that shall make the whole world merry with
delight in the goodness of God.
At the beginning Jesus taught us that HE
KEEPS HIS BEST TO THE LAST.— At least, the
governor said so, and he knew, for he tasted.
How shall men judge Christ's wine with-
out experience ? " O taste, and see that the
Lord is good." Why do we believe Satan ?
He knows nothing of redeeming love. It
was the governor who praised the wine.
It is a way governors have. Understrappers
cannot afford to praise anything but them-
selves. The greater a man is, the more
ready he is to appreciate greatness in others.
It is not Satan's plan to give the best last.
He makes men drunk, and then gives them
the dregs. There are numbers of men drink-
ing at his table what they would not have
looked at when they first sat down. If
Absalom had known the end ! If he could
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have seen himself lifted up, not on the
throne, but on an oak, and if he could have
seen Joab coming, not with a sceptre to
put in his hand, but a dart to thrust into
his heart, he would have said " No," and
dashed the good wine to the ground.
Some of those who saw the beginning of
miracles saw the end. They stood on
Olivet, and watched their Lord as He was
gently separated from them. They saw
Him as He was slowly lifted ; they watched
His hands, still scarred, as they saw Him
leaving them, but with a blessing. And
when the heavens received *Him, they would
be ready to say to each other, " We saw the
beginning of miracles, but it was nothing to
this, ' Thou hast kept the good wine until
now.'" Poor, tempted, harassed disciple,
who hast so often feared for thyself, and art
ready to halt at every step ! Take courage,
grace will be sweeter further on. Do not
fear that thou wilt not succeed in reaching
HOW AND WHERE TO BEGIN. u
the good land. Though feeble, He can give
thee strength to overcome. John Bunyan
knew that, and so he tells us Miss Much-
afraid " went through the river singing, but
none could understand what she said." I
trow they understood at the other side, and
it would be,
"Thou hast kept the good wine
THE GRANAR Y OF GOD.
Genesis xliv. i.
'HP* HIS is one of the many beautiful inci-
dents in Joseph's life. His brethren
been feasted, and are now anxious to
return. Their wives and children will soon
be needing bread to save them from hunger;
there must be no delay, and so, apparently
in answer to their looks of uneasiness, rather
than their words, the great man gives com-
mand. The steward, — how times change !
He who a little time ago was a slave has now
servants who haste to do his bidding; so
many are they that he must have one at
their head to take the orders from the master
THE GRANARY OF GOD. 13
and see them carried out. " The whirligig
of fortune brings its own revenge." Yes, he
who was down yesterday is at the top to-day.
The maligned and persecuted slave is now
master of the land. He has no one to dis-
pute his bidding. It did not look likely that
one who was sent to jail for such a crime
would ever be free again, but " God moves
in a mysterious way His wonders to per-
form." Take comfort. If you are on the
side of right, God will see that you are some
day lifted into your right place. Have you
been wrongfully accused ? Your Master
shall vindicate you sooner or later. Com-
mit your reputation to Him, and if not
before, the first time He has all the world
together He will clear you. Everybody shall
hear that you are right. One wonders what
that vile wretch, Lady Potiphar, thought
when she heard the trumpets proclaim
Joseph the greatest of men. Most likely
she was glad to eat the corn from Joseph's
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granaries. One would think it would almost
What a combination there had been,
designed and undesigned, to keep God's
favourite down. How the wheels fitted in
each other, and cruel men and an unclean
woman joined hand in hand to keep for
baser use the fine gold ! But 'tis all in vain
that the wicked combine against the just.
" Light is sown for the righteous." It is some-
times late in springing ; but God's harvests
are large ones, if far on in the autumn before
gathered. They only linger to grow. Are
you one of those who feel that you ought to
rise in the world ? D on't be afraid
The people want leaders, and if you are the
right sort of stuff you will have a chance of
going to the front sooner or later. Don't be
sentimental, and whine about the "flowers
that blush unseen." No combination can
keep you down if you are a " rising " man.
Never forget that he who had been sold as
THE GRANARY OF GOD. 15
a slave, lied against by a wicked woman,
wrongfully imprisoned, lived to say to the
steward of his house, " Fill the men's sacks
with food," and the men were those who had
sold him 1
Joseph has always been a favourite type
of Jesus.- There is no wonder that it should
be so. When we think of him, sent by his
father, seeking his brethren, coming full of
grace and truth to give them a blessing, while
they are plotting his death, we are reminded
of Him who "came unto His own, and His
own received Him not." And in the generous
treatment these brethren received at the
hands of the man they had plotted against,
we see a picture of the way Jesus, treats those
who had nailed Him to the tree. " Begin at
Jerusalem.*' Joseph said, " Now therefore be
not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that
ye sold me hither : for God did send me before
you to preserve life." Jesus said in Jerusalem,
by the mouth of His servant, " The people
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of Israel were gathered together for to do
whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel
determined before to be done." No wonder
that in all ages the Church has loved to find
in Joseph the foreshadowing of One who
loved His brethren to the death.
" Fill the men's sacks with food ! " It
seems as though we heard our Joseph, exalted
to be a Prince and a Saviour, saying to his
stewards, the ministers and teachers of every
sort, Fill with food, not flowers. It would
have been worse than useless to have filled
the sacks with specimens of the floral beauty
of Egypt. Hungry men could not eat flowers,
they cannot now ; and yet some preachers
act as though poetry and pretty ideas were
the only things fit for food. Far better put
a wreath of flowers round the ass's neck than
put them in the sack where corn should be.
It is said sometimes of these beautiful
preachers when their hearers are asked, What
was it about? what did he tell you?— "Ah,
THE GRANARY OF GOD. 17
it was very beautiful, I was very much
pleased, but somehow there was nothing to
carry away ! "
Food, not chaff 7 — Worse than even flowers,
for they were pretty to look at before they
faded, but dry, tasteless preaching, containing
words without ideas, does not give pleasure, to
say nothing of profit. What can men make
of chaff? Of what use is mere verbiage?
And yet, there are not a few who weary
their hearers with their platitudes, and wonder
that men sleep ! Could men or children use
their time better than in sleep, when preachers
or Sunday School teachers speak what is
but chaff, the shroud in which the living
idea was, but now is not ?
Food. — What preachers and teachers give
their hearers has something to do with
the character of their spiritual life. We
cannot raise vigorous Christians on sour or
insipid food, they will not eat enough of it ;
nor can we rear strong men on weak diet.
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Let them have the finest of the wheat. It is
in the granary, and only needs serving out.
The mighty men of past generations of
Christians were not fed with inferior food.
The brave men and women who held fast
the truth were fed on sound doctrine.
Fill. — Don't give them short measure.
Full, pressed down, running over. There
need be no stint. There is plenty. " My
God shall supply all your need according
to His riches." Why be afraid to let the
people have all that God has promised ?
Fill every sack. Some of them are less
than others. Let these be filled, whoever
else may go short. The less the mind
that comes, the more pains should be taken
that it has a full sack. Let the thoughtless
and the ignorant have special care. The
others can fill for themselves, but these will
only take what is given them. So let each
have "as much as they can carry."
"Put their money in their sacks. I don't
THE GRANARY OF GOD. 19
want it. I don't sell corn to my brethren."
Oh, how like our royal Joseph ! He does not
trade, He is a King. His grace is free. Salva-
tion cannot be of grace and of debt ! Do
some of my readers feel they need food ? Are
their souls hungry ? Come to Joseph. Do
you tell me you have nothing to buy with ?
You are the most welcome. Capital is rather
an hindrance than otherwise. It is enough
for Him to see your hunger-bitten face, to
make Him cry out, Fill him with what he
needs. It is without money and without
price. Money in their sacks. If they have
any goodness, let them have the benefit.
One who had been to the royal granary said,
" My goodness extendeth not to thee, but
to the saints that are in the earth." Take
the money home with you. Let your wives
and your children be the better for it.
As they set off with their laden sacks they
remind us of many a congregation. There is
old Mr. Faithful, — he has his sack full he has
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as much corn as he can carry. No wonder
that he and his family do not want. He comes
to the means of grace expecting to receive,
and is not disappointed. But there is Mr. In-
credulity : he looks, as usual, not very pleased
with himself, or with anyone else. Well,
what is the matter ? You don't seem to have
any corn. No, I did not think we should
see the Master, I knew the steward was good
for nothing, and so did not bring a sack. If
1 had known Ah, yes ; but here comes
Little Faith. Well, you have a bag full ?
Yes ; but I have not as much as Faithful ; you
see he took a sack, and I had only a pillow
slip. I might have done better. There, too,
goes Miss Heedless. She has a sack, and it
was filled, but there is a hole in the corner,
and so the birds have a fine time. Still we
may all sing —
" So plenteous is the store,
Enough for all, enough for each,
Enough for evermore."
THE FARMERS GIFT.
2 Kings iv. 42, 43.
HIS is a story worthy of an artist's
pencil. It is a time of famine. There
has been no rain, and hunger and want
stare you in the face go where you will.
The grass is all burned up, the trees look
as though there had been a fire to dry up
their sap, the leaves have fallen, and the
branches are bare ; the cattle and sheep are
but living skeletons, and bleat and low for
water, for the want of which they will die!
How anxiety sits on the faces of all the
men you see ; even the man of God looks
sorrowful, as he looks at the hunger-bitten
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faces of the sons of the prophets. Just
after one of their number had nearly
poisoned the rest by cooking some dangerous
herb, they are cheered by the visit of a
farmer, who comes with food which he in-
tends for the prophet ; but the old man will
have his young friends share his fortune.
Accordingly he bids his servitor give out
the loaves and corn. What ! Should I set
this before a hundred men ? He is told
that he must obey, for God means the
twenty small cakes and the few ears of corn
to be a good meal for all those hungry men.
Here let me say to young men, Dorit
be in a hurry to leave the old folks. If
these youngsters had said, as soon as their
lesson was over, Come, we have had enough
of the old fellow, let us be off to enjoy our-
selves, they would have missed a good
meal. If you will stay and be a comfort to
those who have been at one time your only
friends, they will appreciate your affection,
THE FARMER'S G/2'T. 23
and do their best to show it. If youth will
linger near to age, it will share the last
4 There is in this little piece of Elisha's
history A LESSON ON PROVIDENCE
This dearth came in consequence of sin.
The proud and wicked people would never
yield, except they were obliged by God's
strong hand. And when He punishes,
He makes men know how powerful He
is. Some men nowadays would not be
touched in any other way. The writer
remembers how, in the time of the cattle-
plague, many ungodly farmers were forced
to feel the hand of God, and just now we
have had three or four bad harvests, so that
many a godless man has felt, if this year
is not better, he cannot pay his rent, but
must be ruined. When God takes to preach-
ing, His voice is heard outside the churches
and chapels. The bad trade from which
England is now suffering is to teach us, if
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we are not too stupid to learn, that if we
will care for God's interests, and feed the
hungry, and clothe the naked, instead of
heaping such luxury on ourselves, He will
bless us, but if not we shall see want at
our own doors.
You cannot have retributive providences,
and only the wicked suffer ; the godly have
their share of want. Elisha was in need.
But the godly have some one to look up
to. David said, " I have been young and
now am old, yet have I not seen the
righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging
bread." Mark, he does not say that it
never happened, but that in his long life
he had not seen it. We often forget that
God is as strong now as ever He was.
The God of to-day is the God of the Old
Testament : — the manna God, — the barrel of
meal God, — the God who has said, " Call upon
me in the day of trouble and I will deliver
thee." If God had once broken His word,
THE FARMER'S GIFT, 25
and allowed one of those who trusted on
Him to be disappointed, His enemy would
have made the world to know it. Only let
God forsake one who puts his trust in Him,
and Satan would put the name and address
in " the agony column " of the Times. But
we feel sure he will never need use his
money for that kind of advertisement !
There is here A BEAUTIFUL example OF
BENEVOLENCE. We don't know the farmer's
name who relieved the prophet. He was one
of a noble band of nameless ones, but some
day God will publish a report, and we shall
find his name, and if we don't live to see
that book, we may go to heaven, and Elisha
will gladly introduce his friend to us. We
know where he came from, — the village has
got into the Bible, through the man's good-
ness. It is possible to make our birthplace
famous by living for Jesus. We sometimes
say, he gives twice who gives quickly. The
farmer gave as soon as he could. There
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seems to have been a little rain that fell
on his field, and the barley had come up;
so, as soon as he could, he threshed it, and
said to the wife, Do be quick and bake me
a few cakes to take to the prophet.
" Bread of the first fruits," we are told it
was. Don't wait till you have churned, and
give God the butter-milk. For many wait
to be rich before they will be generous,
only to find that their heart is too sour to
give anything. First fruits ! Young men,
do not wait till the candle of your life is
burned to the socket, and offer Him but
the snuff. Give God the best part of your
life, that which has the sunshine. If you
will care for God with your May and June,
He will care for you in November.
He came himself. He did not send it.
If you want a thing well done do it your-
self. Especially is this true of acts of
benevolence. Be your own almoner. " Pure
religion and undefiled before God the
THE FARMER'S GIFT. 27
Father is to visit the fatherless and widow."
Visit them does not mean that you are to
be content with putting a shilling in the
box at the time of the communion. Nor
does it mean that you give the money to
your minister to give for you. Go yourself
up the narrow stair, lift the latch, let the
poor have the luxury of a quarter of an
hour of your company. Some of the poor
are rich in faith, and we shall be glad of a
call from them when they are in the man-
sion which God is furnishing so splendidly
This farmer increased God's capital. The
rule is, that God works by means. He does
not usually act without the assistance of
His creatures. Many of His plans are un-
finished because the men are on strike !
Let it be said, with all reverence, this
miracle could not have been performed if
the man had not come from Baalshalisha
with the corn and cakes. The prophet might
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have been fed, but not in this way. This
opens up a wide subject. It is worth our
while to ask, Can we increase the revenue
of God ? Is there another half-hour we can
spend in His service ? Can we find out any-
other way of usefulness ? Would it not be
better to let the Saviour have the benefit
of the legacy duty by giving the money
while we are yet in the world ?
The good farmer ACCOMPLISHED A GREAT
DEAL MORE THAN HE INTENDED. He meant
feeding the prophet, and he fed a hundred
others ! And is not this the case now-a-
days? When Robert Raikes began his
Sunday-school he only thought of the poor
ignorant children of Gloucester; he little
thought that he would be imitated, and
that there would be thousands of Sunday-
schools. When Charles Wesley asked
Bohler if he must tell of his joy in Christ,
the answer was, "If you had a thousand
tongues, tell At with them all." He little
THE FARMER'S GIFT 29
thought that the idea would be set to
rhyme, but Wesley wrote, —
" O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise ! "
and that has been sung by millions of happy
Christians in all parts of the world. The
fact is, God can make a much better use
of our talents than any one else can.
You cannot get so much interest for your
money anywhere else. Lord Byron was a
much greater poet than Isaac Watts, but
they will be singing Watts' hymns when
Byron's name is forgotten.
Elisha would not have had the chance
of feeding his students if the farmer had
not brought the corn. And the good
man was equal to his opportunities. In
spite of the sneer of his wretched servitor,
who was then in training for leprosy, he
would have the cakes divided. " Give unto
the people that they may eat." How
like God ! He does not sell, but gives,
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and so it is with the bread of life. It is
given to whoever will come. Are you
hungry ? Does your soul need satisfying ?
His mercy can do it. Accept the spiritual
food offered to you. " They did eat" we
read ; and it is not enough for you to hear
of Christ ; — believe, — rest. Do with salvation
as the hungry student did with the cakes.
Appropriate it. Do not be afraid. There
is plenty more.
'•' Enough in Christ remains behind
To fill the souls of all mankind."
It would be difficult to say who was the
happiest in the group, Elisha or the farmer.
It was not Gehazi. It must have been
very interesting to hear the good man
describe what he had seen. Can you not
fancy him when he reaches the farm ? The
wife, anxious to know how the prophet had
liked her cakes, says, " Well, my dear, and
did you find the prophet ? " " Find him : I
THE FARMER'S GIFT. 31
should think I did, my lass; I never had
such a day in my life. What do you
think ? When I got there, I saw more than
a hundred of the young men, and fine fellows
they are, but they did look poor. I wished
I had taken ten times as much. But I
need not have done. When the good
prophet saw me, he cried out, ' Gehazi, take
these cakes and the corn to the students.'
He's a greedy one, is that servant man!
He said, 'What use are these few little cakes
to set before all these hungry men ? ' ' Do
as I tell you,' says Elisha. ' The Lord says
they shall eat, and shall leave.' You would
not believe it, but all those hungry men ate,
and yet they could not eat all my cakes !
Elisha said, ' Eat away ; ' they did their best,
but they had to leave. They did eat, but,
hungry as they were, they ' left thereof
according to the word of the Lord.'
THE HOLY TENT.
"Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may
dwell among them." — Exodus xxv. 8.
TTOW easily God could have made the
tabernacle Himself! Then everything
would have been perfect,— the precious stones,
the gold, the embroidery, how beautiful if
He had but shown us what He could do 1
Yes, but it would not have given Him the
pleasure it did. "My delights were with the
sons of men." Perhaps some of us are
wearing a watchchain made out of hair.
We could have bought a better one, that
would have looked more handsome, but this
is worth more to us than any other. It was
made by the fingers of our child, made for our
THE HOLY TENT. 33
birthday. In some such way, God delights
in that which His children do for Him. It
would be easier to send out angels to do
the preaching, but it must be an intense
delight to our God and Saviour to see men
toiling to find ideas which shall strike their
hearers, and lead them to truth and salvation ;
and especially to see a young man work-
ing hard to master the difficulties of some
foreign tongue, that he may tell the story
of the cross to the heathen. It does not
take a vivid imagination to picture God
listening to the axe as it cuts down trees
for the posts of the tabernacle, and that
dull chopping would sound as musical to
Him as the angel's song. But there is no
charm in what is not done for God with
a free heart. " Of every man that giveth
willingly with his heart ye shall take my
We should mark that God MAKES HIM-
SELF DEPENDENT ON THE WILL OF MAN. —
34 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
" Let them make me." This is true, not
only of material wealth, but ot mans
nature. God wants human nature, He
seems to covet to have the affection of our
life, and yearns to be looked up to by the
creature He has made. Let us not cheat
Him, for we shall rob ourselves most of all.
There are two passages of Scripture which
we will place together : " Who will have all
men to be saved ; " " Ye will not corne
unto me." What mystery in these words!
Who can tell us all we could ask con-
cerning them ? But one thing is plain,
God may be thwarted by man.
Was not the holy tent a picture of the
Church? Built, not in Egypt, but in the
wilderness, and built that God might dwell
among men. Does not Paul use the same
idea, when writing to the people of Corinth,
" Ye are the temple of the living God, as
God hath said, I will dwell with them.
Wherefore come out from among them,
THE HOLY TENT. 35
and be ye separate ? " and is not the
tent ot God a shadow of the perfect Church
we read of at the end of the Book ?
" Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,
and He will dwell among them." Was not
this in the mind of the man who wrote the
child's hymn in which these lines occur ? —
" I have been there and still would go,
'Tis like a little heaven below"
In this divine conception of the Church
THERE IS A PLACE FOR THE RICH. It is
not impossible for rich men to be good men.
It is not easy, but still it can be done.
It is foolish to sneer at the givings of the
rich. God has given them a place. This is
the offering which ye shall take of them —
"gold." None but He who reads the
heart, knows what sacrifices many of the
rich make in giving gold. Do you reply,
they do not give in proportion to the poor?
No, but the poor do not feel giving like
36 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
the wealthy do. It is much more easy-
out of the little to give a little, than to
give in the same proportion out of the
much. The writer knows a man who spent
^"30,000 on his pictures, and who gives at
the rate of ;£ioo per annum to the support
of the ministry ; but he says he cannot go
on giving at that rate. Why? It does
not give him the pleasure the pictures do !
It is only for the Lord, not for himself.*
God would not have accepted planks from
those who had gold, and so God will not
accept industry in His service in the place
of wealth. However well the rich man can
teach in the Sunday-school, it must not be
put in the place of the material wealth he
can put into God's hands.
Labour has its place. — There was a
great deal of timber required ; the wood of
the acacia-tree was used for the frame-
work. What a number of trees would have
to be cut down ; perhaps many miles walked
THE HOLY TENT. 37
before one is found large enough ; then the
axe must be plied, — these boards mean
thousands of drops of sweat. When the
tree was cut down, it had to be sawn into
boards, and other shaped timbers ; then
there was the labour of dragging them to
the place where the tabernacle was put
together. Here was work which the poorest
could do. It was well when the man who
had given gold or silver took his axe, and
was a hewer of wood ; but you could not
shut the poor man out, — he had his chance
of " giving willingly with his heart " the toil
which was his talent. Is it not so to-day ?
In building the Church, what room for holy
industry ! Ply thy axe and saw, my
brother. The gold of the rich is useless
without the toil of thy hands. The plates
of gold were to cover the boards of acacia.
Gold would not do of itself; it was the
ornamental, rather than the useful. And
what would the missionary income of the
38 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
Churches be without the missionaries ?
Fancy the Missionary Societies if no one
offered for the work. If, as each man died,
or came home, no one went out, what a
difference it would make ! Does some
mother read this? Has she a boy who
sometimes talks as though he would be a
missionary if his way were open ? Give
him to the Lord. You may only be able
to put a penny into the collection, but if
you have given a man for the work, we
shall want other signs beside £ s d to tell
the worth of your offering.
Woman has her rights here. — We
read in Exodus xxxv. 24, 25 of women that
were wise-hearted, who did spin with their
hands, and of " women whose heart stirred
them up in wisdom spun goats' hair." If we
take woman's work out of the Church, what a
great many good labourers we lose at once.
Think of the influence of all the Christian
mothers : who can reckon it ? Think of the
THE HOLY TENT. 39
devoted Sunday-school workers among the
women; think of the thousands of tracts given
by women's hands. Think of the mothers'
meetings. Women have their work in the
Church, and no one can take their place.
Then let the woman do her work well. If it
is for you to spin, do it with wisdom. Let
not the enemy whisper that your work is
such a feeble contribution. God did not
expect the woman to cut down the trees ;
there is a place, and a right place, for us all.
A manly woman is as much out of place
as an effeminate man. We don't like to
see the woman shoulder the axe, no more
than the man finger distaff and spindle. Still
we are not independent of the woman ; we
must have her work, or we cannot finish ours.
Paul was every whit a man, and he never
flinched from his duty, but he could appreciate
the work of the other sex, and has given her
a place of beauty in his letters, " These wo-
men which laboured with me in the gospel."
40 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
There is room for genius. — Not only
gold, silver, brass, and wood, but precious
stones are required ; the beautiful jewels worn
by the high priest were considered as part of
the furnishing of the tabernacle. Of course
the onyx stones, and other jewels, took up
but small room, but they added beauty and
splendour to the rest. God does not create
genius every day. We have many rhymers,
but few poets, and small indeed is the pro-
portion of these who write hymns. If Byron
had written a " Christian Year," that is, if he
had been as devout as Keble, what a different
book it would have been ! We need the
ruby as well as the pearl. How little does
painting help the truth nowadays. Look at
our railway stations. If those great spaces
could be utilized for God as the painters in
olden time would have used them, what
room for large frescoes, what teaching through
the eye ! Let the reader cast his eye on
the hoardings, and see the advertisements,
THE HOLY TENT. 41
so pictorial and striking, and not an inch
of them used for Jesus or teaching truth and
righteousness. The tabernacle is inhabited
by God, though not adorned as it deserves ;
would it not give Him pleasure if He could
have the kind of beauty only possible for
genius to produce ?
Still, we must not forget that the MEANEST
IS ACCEPTABLE, IF IT IS THE BEST WE CAN
BRING. — Cedar for Solomon's temple, Shittim
wood for the tabernacle, for even Solomon
could not have provided cedar where the
holy tent was made. There are times when
cleverness is baffled, and wealth is powerless.
Our best is welcome, however inferior it may
be to someone else's best. God does not reap
where He has not sown, though the indolent
servant made it out to be so. But see to it
God has your best. Let us not pray in the
stead of working. There are those who can
shout " Thy kingdom come " easier than they
can try to bring it about. Acacia-wood will
42 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
not be accepted in the place of anything
else. But if the axe and saw are your talents,
by all means use them. If we could only
have the buried one talent, we should have
a wonderful increase to the Church's revenues.
The four men who carried the paralytic could
not heal him, but they could take off the
tiles ; and to such workers Jesus cannot say
nay. When He saw their eager faces looking
through the hole they had made in the roof,
He could not deny them the pleasure of
seeing their friend rise and take up his bed.
Our best and our all is of no avail
WITHOUT THE ATONEMENT. — We read, in
Hebrews ix. 21, "Moreover, he sprinkled like-
wise with blood, both the tabernacle and all the
vessels of the ministry." Besides, the founda-
tions of the tent were silver blocks, which
were bought with the redemption shekels.
Every man was redeemed, and the price was
that on which the framework rested (Exodus
xxx. 16. and xxxviii. 27). " This habitation
THE HOLY TENT. 43
of God " rests on the true foundation which
is Christ Jesus. Let none of us rest upon
our alms or deeds ; they are, though precious
and beautiful, only safe as they rest upon the
merits of Jesus.
" Not the alms or works of man
Can for his sins atone,
But the Lamb for sinners slain
Hath satisfied alone."
THE HOLY CHEST.
Hebrews ix. 4.
" /^\F which we cannot now speak particu-
^^^ larly," said the author of this epistle.
If he had gone into particulars, further ex-
position would have been needless. What
was the lesson taught by this wonderful
article of tabernacle furniture ? Are we not
to look upon it as a picture of Jesus ? If the
reader does not think so, let him, like the
Bereans, " search the scriptures, whether these
things were so."
Let us consider the OUTSIDE. What
do we see ? a chest most likely about
three feet long, by eighteen inches wide,
and eighteen inches deep. It is a box
THE HOLY CHEST, 45
made of common wood, but covered with
fine gold ; and is not our Jesus both human
and divine ? Both are there, and you cannot
separate them ; just as the ark was not per-
fect, though the right shape and size, till it
was covered with fine gold, so Christ could
not be Jesus without the gold of divinity.
The Jews stumbled here ; they were ready to
receive a human Messiah, but they would not
have anything to do with the divine element.
We, however, have been better taught, and
look for One anointed to save. Still we do
not overlook the wood, though it is covered
with gold. It is sweet to know that Christ
shares our nature. He passed over the cedar
of angelic life, and took the common shittim,
the tree of the wilderness. When we think
of our sins, we are thankful that our Saviour
Was divine, and therefore able to save to the
uttermost ; but wheri we think of our future,
we are glad that we are to spend our eternity
with the Man Christ Jesus. He is one of
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ourselves. " It behoved Him to be made like
unto His brethren."
Do you notice that at each corner there is
a ring of gold ? What are these rings for ?
To receive the staves which are passed
through the rings. By these gold-covered
staves the Levites carried the ark on their
shoulders. The holy thing was portable ; it
went before, and led the people on their
march. They were sure to be safe if they
went where the ark led them. It would be a
blessed thing if the Church of God would be
persuaded to go only where Christ would
have gone. They would be saved from much
temptation ; not that God would have us
morose and unfit for company. Jesus loved
society ; He delighted to sit down at the table
with His friends, and to accept hospitality;
yet He would not have gone where some of
His so-called followers show themselves.
But what are these figures which stand
at each end of the ark, — winged creatures,
THE HOLY CHEST. 47
whose faces are looking with such earnestness
at the gold on the top of the ark ? These
are the cherubim, the representatives of the
angelic world. They gaze with interest
upon the mercy-seat. Is it not Jesus who
links heaven to earth ? We sometimes
wonder what angels are like, and how it is
that they who never knew pain or sorrow
should be so much interested in this world
of transgression and tears. We read, " which
things the angels desire to look into." How
powerful these beings are ; one of them slew
thousands in one night : how pure they are ;
they have never broken the law. What an
advantage it will be for us to mix with them,
and to spend eternity in their company ;
and this will be the case, for, in Him whom
the ark pictured, " the whole family in heaven
and earth is named."
Upon what are the cherubim gazing so
intently ? Follow the direction of their eyes,
and what see you ? There is a spot of blood !
48 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
Blood ? Yes, blood. Blood on the pure
gold ? Yes, this ark is the meeting-place
between God and man, — the only place where
the Holy God can be approached by him
who represents sinners. The Socinian sneers
at us for talking so much about blood. He
is so refined that he cannot bear such things.
Nay, he is more refined than the Almighty,
for God commanded that whenever the high
priest approached the mercy-seat, he should
bring blood with him (see Lev. xvi. 14).
Just as the cherubim gazed upon the blood
which was sprinkled on the gold, so in heaven,
to-day, the Saviour is the centre of attraction,
and not as the King of glory, but as a newly-
slain victim — " a Lamb as it had been slain."
And if the reader ever stands with those who
sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, he
must come to the mercy-seat, to the ap-
pointed place for pardon. Have you been
there? If not, come at once. Come and
look at the blood which is on the gold. That
THE HOLY CHEST. 49
blood of the Innocent was shed for thee.
Thou need'st not fear to meet God in the
place He has appointed to look upon the
sinner. Gaze upon the ark, — the wood, the
gold, the blood, — which is the sacrifice for thy
sins, and then thou shalt be able to sing : —
u Thou standest in the holy place,
As now for guilty sinners slain,
The blood of sprinkling speaks and prays,
All prevalent for guilty men.
Thy blood is still my ransom found,
And speaks salvation all around."
We will now lift the lid of the ark and
look INSIDE. What do we see ? " The golden
pot." A vessel of gold filled with manna !
God commanded that a pot of manna should
be placed in the ark. Some of the angels'
food was picked up from the ground and
preserved. There it is, not breeding worms,
as all other manna did if kept, but fresh as
the first day it was gathered. . Does not this
teach that in Christ we have spiritual food ?
50 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
Just as the manna fell all the time the chil-
dren of Israel were in the wilderness, so Jesus
is the bread of life to us, v all the time we
are on this side Jordan. We shall need the
Saviour as long as we are in this sinful world.
There is a time coming when we shall hunger
no more, but, till then, it is our safety
to eat the " bread which came down from
Have another peep inside, and what
meets your gaze? The rod that budded
(Numb. xvii.). Do you remember the story ?
There had been a rebellion ; Korah, Dathan,
and Abiram had tried to show that they
had as much right to be priest as Aaron.
They had been swallowed up, and the next
day Moses told the princes to bring their
sceptres ; each tribe was thus represented.
Aaron's name was written on the rod of
Levi. They were all laid before the Lord.
The next day they were all brought out,
and lo, Aaron's rod had received life and
THE HOLY CHEST. 51
bore a crop of almonds as well as blossom !
It was a mass of flowers and fruit. By this
the people were convinced that Aaron was
chosen to be priest, and the rod was kept in
the ark. What does this teach us ? That in
Christ is the true, God-chosen, God-honoured,
We have numbers of sham priests. There
is the priest of idolatry : his sceptre is but a
blood-stained club. There was the Jewish
priest, but he is a dry stick, there is no life
there : all barrenness. There is the Romish
priest, but this is a rotten stick ; we despair
of seeing it bloom with anything but re-
ligious fungus. Away with all these shams !
Christ is the true priest, and we feel that in
Christ we have all we need.
" He entered once the holiest,
And therefore I shall enter,
Who Jesus own,
On Him alone
For full salvation venture ;
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The earnest and the witness,
And seal of sins forgiven,
He bought for me —
And all the joys of heaven."
Look again. What see you now ? " The
tables of the covenant" The stones upon
which God wrote the law. Not the first
tables : they were broken. Moses did not
pick up the fragments and patch them to-
gether and put them in the ark. No, it was
the new, unbroken tables, which were put in
the ark. And is not Christ Jesus our right-
eousness ? Do we not glory in the fact that
our Substitute was sinless ? We have no
righteousness to plead, but we have a perfect
Saviour. Our efforts at reformation are but
a clumsy piecing of the broken tables, but
in Christ we have a perfect law. The blood
of the covenant is what we rejoice over.
Innocent blood on an unbroken law !
It would be an interesting theme to dwell
upon — the history of the ark. How it was
THE HOLY CHEST 53
bound up with the success of the friends of
God. Wherever it went, it meant destruction
to the foes of the Almighty. When Jericho
was to be taken, the ark of the Lord was
carried round the doomed city. Nothing
could stand before it. Perhaps some of my
readers may remind me of the time when the
ark was taken by the Philistines. Yes, but
God had no greater foes that day than the
men who carried the ark to the battle (Sam.
iv. 4). They would not have been in the
battle but for the ark which took them to
death ! The enemies of God had but scant
cause for triumph. Dagon was cast down
before the ark, and the plagues which came
made the Philistines more glad to see the
last of the ark than they had been to secure
it. Yes, our success is here. If Jesus be
with us, we shall win the day. If He is
not in our place, we fail. Rams' horns, with
the ark, do more than silver trumpets with-
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And in the last great struggle, when we
cross the dark, bridgeless river, we shall need
Christ, and if He is with us, all is well.
Jordan was on a flood the day the Israelites
crossed to the land of promise. What was
to be done ? The ark was brought, and as
the priests' feet touched the swift stream the
waters divided, and there was a passage for
all, — old and young, the strong and the weak,
the active youth and the lame man on his
crutches, all passed over. Not till the last
of the chosen ones had crossed, was the ark
removed. And so now, our Jesus keeps the
way. Fear not, poor pilgrim, for as thou
passest over, louder than the roar of the
torrent thou shalt hear a voice from the ark
" They shall not overflow thee."
Matthew iv. i-ii.
QOMEWHERE or other the writer has
seen a picture of the Iron Duke revisit-
ing Waterloo. There sits Wellington on
horseback, looking over the field where he
won the most decisive of modern battles,
and close by stands a guide, pointing out
the most interesting parts of the field, little
guessing to whom he is speaking, and how
much better the listener could tell the story
if he cared to do so.
Do we not at times, when listening to
preachers talking of Christ's works and words,
wonder whether they ever think that He
56 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
stands by, and must be ready to smile at
the blunders made by even his greatest
The temptation of Christ is a subject to
excite the imagination, and tempt one to talk
when it would perhaps be wiser to wait till we
are with Jesus, when we can do as His dis-
ciples were wont when on earth, — ask Him
privately. It becomes such as we are, to
say, as we think of the wondrous struggle
between Light and darkness, " Let the words
of my mouth, and the meditation of my
heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord,
my Strength and my Redeemer."
One cannot help thinking and wondering
why this temptation should take place, and
though all the reasons cannot be known,
some of them we think we can see. We
KNOW THERE is A DEVIL. Perhaps the
most clever of all Satanic schemes is that in
which he persuades men that he does not
exist. What could suit a general better than
THE TEMPTATION. 57
to persuade the troops he is seeking to
destroy, that he is a mere creature of the
imagination ? — that all the stories told
about him being seen are mere inventions,
and that therefore there is no need to take
any precautions ? If we receive the Gospels
as history, we must believe in a personal devil.
Read Matthew iv. 11 ; and if you don't
believe in the existence of the devil, you
mu-'Bt become a Sadducee at once. If no bad
spirit, neither are there good ones. If there
was no temptation, there was no ministering.
Where shall we stop when once we change
the narrative into fable ? Was the baptism a
myth ? If not, we must go on with the story,
and accept the temptation as true, and
believe there is, in spite of what clever men,
taught by the father of lies, say, such an one
as is called " that old serpent the devil."
If Christ had not been tempted, we should
have heard the old mocking laugh of Satan,
as when God spoke of Job, " Thou hast
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set a hedge about him." If Satan had not
been worsted in the struggle, how cleverly
would he have insinuated that the Saviour
was not perfect ! " If I had been allowed
my way, I would have proved the second
Adam no better than the first. I would
soon have brought him down to the same
level as the rest of the children of men."
Have you ever stood on the beach when a
new lifeboat has been tried ? If so, you
will have noticed that, not waiting till there
is a storm abroad, and a wreck needing help,
but some fine day, the boat is manned, and
when out in deep water the crew capsize her,
only to prove that she can right herself, and
that there is no need to fear that she cannot
live in the roughest sea. But the lifeboat
built to save the wrecked world was tried as
soon as launched, only to prove that the
wildest storm could not capsize her, and that
to be aboard was to reach the shore unhurt !
Satan cannot say Christ is untried.
THE TEMPTATION. 59
Then, it has been proved that A MAN CAN
RESIST SIN in its strongest forms, for it was
not as God that Jesus was tempted, but as
the Son of man. It was the human nature
that was tempted. Where would be the
force of the reasoning in Hebrews iv. 15, if
we are to believe that it was the divine and
not the human which fought and won the
battle ? " Like as we are"' It was not pos-
sible for the divine in Jesus to learn any-
thing, but it was possible for the human to
do so, and so u learned He obedience by the
things which He suffered!' It is these things
which make us thankful to the Holy Ghost,
who foreknew all the future of the human
race, that He led Jesus into the wilderness
to be tempted of the devil.
As we read the story of the temptation,
we cannot but be struck with the ignorance
of Satan concerning Jesus. He did not
understand Him. There could be no doubt
that He was a man ; everything about Him
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was human, — He is hungry like any other
man, and though He has fasted forty days,
it is only what other good men have done ;
and if he could draw Moses into speaking
unadvisedly, meek as he was, why should he
not entrap this one ? We know that he
could not, but we should not have known it
as we know it now, if Satan had not made
the attempt. Let us not lose sight of the
fact that the arch enemy is not omniscient.
He learns quickly, but there are many things
he has yet to learn. He is as ignorant as
we are concerning the future, and fluent as
he is in quoting Scripture, he is so blinded
by prejudice that his eyes are holden. Be-
sides, he, like bad men, is ready to think
that every one is as bad as himself. Let
us not be discouraged, then, if he treats us
as though we were the vilest of men. How
often have the purest-minded to stop their
ears, and to cry out for help because tempted
to that from which their minds start back
THE TEMPTATION. 61
with horror. The fact is, Satan cannot
appreciate goodness, and makes as many-
mistakes as ever. How totally ignorant of
Jesus he must have been to say, " All these
things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down
and worship me." Be not surprised then if
you are horrified by being solicited to do that
from which your soul recoils. " The servant
is not above his Lord," and if Jesus was
asked to worship the devil, we must expect
to be humiliated, if we cannot be over-
powered by the suggestions of the Evil One.
How powerless temptation was when urged
upon Jesus ! There was no sympathy be-
tween the two. What concord hath Christ
with Belial? Fire and water might be
expected to agree, before Jesus and the
devil could possibly come to terms. There
was nothing in Jesus to respond to temp-
tation. "Nothing in me," said the Lord,
three years afterwards, when speaking of the
last assault of the enemy. Why should not
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we know more of this experience ? " Christ
in you the hope of glory " is the power that
can turn the alien army back. And where
is the limit of this " Christ in you " power ?
The mistake which many of us make is
supposing that it is necessary that we
should be smitten down at every attack of
the enemy. What the Church needs is more
of " Christ in you." The self-denying power
that makes men seek their happiness in
wiping away tears from other faces, even at
the cost of tears in their own eyes, is the
kind of strength that makes human nature
Jesus has taught us the use of the Bible
in self-defence. The Captain of our sal-
vation girded Himself with the Sword of
the Spirit. He has showed us how to use
it, and, what is remarkable, each quotation
is from a part of Holy Writ that foes and
false friends have alike agreed to discredit,
The Pentateuch. Have my readers learned
THE TEMPTATION. 63
the sword exercise ? It is useless to expect to
conquer without the heavenly brand. You
will be mortally wounded if you are not
able to parry the strokes of the enemy. We
never leave our home without our sword but
Satan knows. Dust on the Bible lids invites
the foe to make another attack. Courage
is not enough. Like Jesus, let us have
skill in applying the word of God to the
temptations of the evil one. Search out the
meaning of God's word, and what you know,
use. There was great vehemence in the
words of Jesus. He was not content to
parry the stroke ; He cut with the edge of
His blade. And the wounds He made have
not healed to this day !
The battle, though fierce, is not for ever.
We read, "Then the devil leaveth Him."
So it is with all the tempted followers of
Jesus. Satan is not able to continue always.
Sooner or later he must leave. Angels came.
Evil first. Trial first. Sufferings first ; then
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rest and quietness. " Through fire and water
into a wealthy place." The sweet follows
the bitter. What was true of the Master
shall be true of all His servants. The devil
will do his worst, only to be beaten, and
then, angels come. And the same ears that
heard Apollyon say, " I swear by my infernal
den that thou shalt go no further ; here will I
spill thy soul," shall hear the shining ones say,
as they go over the river, " We are minister-
ing spirits, sent forth to minister for those
that shall be heirs of salvation." " Now you
must know that the city stood upon a mighty
hill ; but the pilgrims went up that hill with
ease, because they had these two men to lead
them up by the arms ; also they had left
their mortal garments behind them in the
river, for though they went in with them,
they came out without them. They there-
fore went up through the regions of the air,
sweetly talking as they went, being com-
forted because they safely got over the river,
THE TEMPTATION. 65
and had such glorious companions to attend
them." " The servant shall be as his Lord,"
and it shall be said of each of God's people
as it was of Jesus, — " Then the devil leaveth
Him, and behold, angels came and ministered
" Lost by the first, the second Man
Jehovah did the fight regain,
Single he foil'd our hellish foe,
Who fled to escape the deadly blow.
Nor could the serpent save his head
For ever crushed — when Jesiis bled 1 "
WINNING GOD'S BA TTIES.
"And Joshua discomfited Amalek with the edge of
the sword." — Exodus xvii. 13.
r I S HIS is a bulletin, not a gazette. We
are used to see the general's name
in the hasty statement sent off immediately
after the victory, but, when the successful
leader pens his gazette, he particularises,
and gives the details of the battle, which
regiments distinguished themselves, and even
names individuals who have won honour by
their acts of bravery, so that we now know,
not merely the victor's name, but the more
humble names of those who helped him to
win, and we learn that he "begs to recom-
mend Private Smith for the Victoria Cross.
WINNING GOHS BATTLES. 67
Some day, our Joshua shall slay Amalek
utterly. The last battle shall be won, and
evil rear its ugly head no more. Then,
when the books are opened, every good
deed shall be read out, and secret acts of
bravery and goodness shall be honoured.
There are not a few, who have been unknown
to fame, who will shine as the stars for ever
We learn from Deuteronomy xxv. 18 that
Amalek had " smote the hindmost, even all
that were feeble." In the presence of the
enemy there should be no stragglers. These
are always a temptation to the foe. Let us
never forget that when we are feeble or
straggling we are a mark for the enemy.
Do you think no one knows when we are
living far from God ? Is the maid who dusts
our bedroom the only one who looks on the
Bible lids, and could write our names in the
dust ? When we absent ourselves from the
Ordinance of the Lord's Supper, is the
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minister the only one who detects our ab-
sence ? Be sure of this : when the enemy-
sees you leave your home without prayer,
he sends word before you, and there are new
temptations awaiting you in business. The
hindmost, and the feeble, are sure to be the
first attacked, and therefore should have
special care. Amalek hangs about the flank ;
so let there be a rear guard of picked soldiers
to care for what the writer of the Epistle to
the Hebrews calls "the feeble knees, and
the hands which hang down."
Joshua discomfited Amalek, not Moses
or some other friend. There are plenty of
enemies, without fighting our brethren. What
sport it must be for the alien when he sees
the soldiers of the cross wounding each other !
Whatever we men may think of the volumes
of controversial divinity, the reading of them
must have made laughter for the foe who
hates both sides. For instance, good John
Wesley stayed at home to write those pithy
WINNING GOB'S BATTLES. 69
and drastic pamphlets against Toplady and
Hill, while the good work of saving men from
hell had to pause. And then Toplady must
leave the composing of such hymns as " Rock
of Ages," and pen a rejoinder that would
make Wesley feel as though some one had
cast vitriol upon him ! If we are wounded
fighting Amalek, it will not increase our pen-
sion, for we shall be too ashamed of the
wounds we receive in battling with brethren
to say anything about them. Let us keep
our bitterness for sin, and our swords for the
King's enemies. We are soldiers, and not
gladiators ; so, while there is an enemy of
Christ left, we had better spend all our
strength and courage in battling for the
Lord, and not in wounding each other.
Amalek is not to be beaten without A
FIGHT. This is no review. It is not work
for blank cartridge. The struggle against
sin is real, as we shall find to our cost if we
are not wary. How Satan must laugh and
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sneer at many of the efforts made against
him : sermons preached without point,
Sunday-school lessons and addresses with
no interest or teaching in them. We must
come to close quarters. Mere common-
place generalities are not enough. It is not
long-pounders, but the sword, that wins the
day. When a young Spartan complained
to his mother that his sword was too short,
he was told to go a step nearer the enemy,
and it would be long enough then.
Let us not forget to use the edge of the
sword. Neither the flat of it nor the back
will cut as a sword ought. There was a
picture in one of the illustrated papers the
other day of some Turks at the grindstone,
getting their swords ready for the fight.
What sort of an edge has yours ? Has it
. an edge at all ? All other things being equal,
God can do more with a sharp man than a
dull one. Don't be afraid of study, or any-
thing else that will make you more effective.
WINNING GOD'S BATTLES. 71
Few things are so much to be dreaded as
respectable dulness !
Moses was for EACH MINDING HIS OWN
WORK — Joshua to fight, and himself to take
the top of the hill. This is the way battles
are won. The Commissariat officer serves
his country while securing bullocks for
rations, and sending up ammunition to the
front. There is, perhaps, not enough thought
of those who supply the wants of the workers.
Have you ever noticed, at a fire, how all
attention is given to the engine when it
comes up, laden with men, who spring off,
each one running to his post, some fixing
on the hose, some getting out ladders, while
another with the brazen pipe goes to the
place of danger, and battles with the fire?
There is another man at work, though, whom
no one cares to look at. The turncock, with
his large key, has gone down a back street,
where there is no admiring crowd, and he
turns on the water, without which the brave
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firemen would be of no use, and the mob
would have nothing to cheer at. Is it not
so with some unobtrusive men and women
who find the funds for carrying on the work
which others do ? Let us not undervalue
any kind of work, whether it is done
publicly or in secret, knowing that the
Master will "give every man according as
his work shall be." This battle would not
have been fought, to say nothing of won, if
there had not been GOOD ADVICE given and
taken. " Moses said unto Joshua." "Joshua
did as Moses had said." What is the use
of experience, if it does not speak ? Why
wait till your advice is asked ? Why has
God kept you in the world, old man, if He
may not have the benefit of your experience ?
Don't wait till the chance has gone by, and
then say, "Ah, I knew it would be so!"
And if Moses speaks to Joshua, let not
the young chief think that the old fogey is
always interfering. It is not for nothing
WINNING GOD'S BATTLES. 73
that God keeps the grey head here, instead
of taking it home to be crowned.
" CHOOSE us out men," said Moses. Don't
take any fool. There is a standard in the
Queen's army. Each man must pass the
doctor. It is not everybody who can be
even a raw recruit. Are we particular
enough about our soldiers in the army of
the Lord ? Do we not set men over the
house of God who have not brains enough
to take charge of anything else ? We should
fight all the better if we had better officers,
even if there were fewer of them. Oh, if
we could but secure for the army of God
the same amount of bravery and generalship
there is on the wrong side !
Moses on the hill is AN EMBLEM OF PUBLIC
PRAYER. On the top of the hill, where all
the fighting men could see him. Would
you not like to have heard the prayer
Moses put up that day ? He was a wonder-
ful man to pray. He who could say, " Blot
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my name out of Thy book," would be sure
to offer a remarkable prayer when he saw
his countrymen beloved attacked by Amalek.
It was a prayer that remembered the past.
He took the rod of God in his hand. What
a history that rod had. It was the old
shepherd's crook that Moses used in Midian.
Before the Lord it had been changed into
a serpent. It had beckoned to the waves
of the Red Sea, and they had divided, and
made a path for the Israelites to pass over,
and again had been waved over the waters,
and the floods returned to their place,
drowning the enemies of God. It had
smitten the rock in Horeb, and there had
been water for the people to drink ; and now
Moses takes it with him to the top of the
hill. Do we not forget too often the things
God has honoured in the past ? Where
God honours, let us not show neglect, but
continue to keep in hand that which " smote
Rahab and wounded the dragon."
WINNING GO US BATTLES. 75
There is a mystery about prayer that we
cannot unravel. How it is, or why it is, that
success in the highest sense is more or less
dependent upon the prayers of others than
the worker, is a puzzle ; but facts in spiritual,
as well as natural life, are stubborn things.
"This kind goeth not out but by prayer
and fasting," was not spoken by some enthu-
siastic scholar, but by the Great Master
Himself. The fact is plain enough, though
the why and wherefore are kept secret. We
have here the history, if not the philosophy,
of success, or the want of it "And it came
to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that
Israel prevailed, and when lie let down his
hand Amalek prevailed'' Could we but
have men and women mighty in prayer,
some victories would be recorded on our
side ere long. It is not given to all men
to fight ; your work then must be done on
your knees if not in the battle-field. Either
on the hill with the rod in hand, or on the
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plain with the sword, we must do our best
to win the day. One of the bravest of
Christian soldiers, scarred with many a fight,
said, " I will therefore that men pray every-
where, lifting up holy hands."
How much even the mightiest of men
are dependent upon others much weaker
than themselves ! It was well for the for-
tunes of the day that Moses was not alone.
Moses' hands were heavy. How dependent
the soul is compelled to be upon the body.
If the flesh is weak, the soul cannot strike
a vigorous blow. The soldiers of Israel
would watch the rod of Moses ; they would
soon learn to foretell victory or defeat, as
the arms went up or down. Aaron and Hur
were wise enough to stay up the wearied
muscles, and his hands were steady until
the going down of the sun. So we next
read, Joshua discomfited Amalek.
Some of my readers are not prominent
men, like either Moses or Joshua. But you,
WINNING GOD'S BATTLES. 77
too, have your part to play. Do you stay
up the hands of Moses, or is your influence
bearing them down ? " The one on the one
side, the other on the other side." It took
two of them ; they could . not be at both
sides at once. If you can do nothing else,
you may bear up those who lead others in
prayer. How the soldiers would bless those
who were holding up the arms that seemed
like the arms of God t Let us then, if we
can do nothing else, see to it that all our
influence is to bear up, and not to bear
down, those who turn the tide of battle, and
win the victories which make angels sing,
An altar marked the place of battle, and
glory was given to the Lord of Hosts.
Though the aching limbs of Moses would
for many a day tell of his efforts in turning
the battle that day, yet he called the altar,
"The Lord is my banner." It is a touching
sight to see the flags of our. own country
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hanging up in St. Paul's. What a history
they have ! What bravery has focussed
itself round that old rag of silk, and what
historic names are embroidered upon it ! and
yet, when new > colours have taken their
places, the brave hearts send their honoured
old flag to the national temple. And shall
not we, who are the soldiers of the cross,
call the battle-fields where we have won
our bravest fights by the name of Him to
whom we ascribe all might and majesty ?
Nay, when the last fight has been won, and
the enemy of our race for ever defeated, we
shall unite in singing, "Not UNTO US,
O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy
NAME GIVE GLORY 1
THE HEA VENL Y WORKMAN.
Ephesians ii. 10.
HIS chapter contains an argument
which is a good illustration of the
two-edged way in which the sword of the
Spirit cuts enemies who come from different
directions. On the one hand, Paul strikes
at those who would teach licentiousness pos-
sible to men who are saved by grace. We
are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus,
unto good works. It is true that we do not
improve ourselves. It is all of grace, yet
good works are binding upon us all the more.
On the other hand, let us not take any credit
to ourselves. If we are elevated or refined,
it is because God has taken pains with us,
or we should be as coarse and foul as anyone.
80 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
Indeed, we should never have come into the
workshop but for the heavenly artist. " No
man can come to me, except the Father
which hath sent me draw him." It is as
old Mr. Honest said, when the rest of the
pilgrims came to watch him cross the river.
This blunt, staunch old pilgrim said, " Grace
Without entering further into the argu-
ment, it will be worth our while to consider
some of the ideas suggested by the figure
used, namely, that God works with skill
and industry in elevating and refining human
nature; and let us not overlook the fact
that there is A GREAT DIFFERENCE IN THE
It is useless to say that all men are equal.
We are not all born alike. From the fault or
misfortune of our progenitors, we may start
on the race with heavy burdens that we
cannot shake off. Besides, we differ in both
physical and mental constitution. We use
THE HEAVENLY WORKMAN. 81
terms which are very suggestive when we
speak of a " hard " man, or when we say, " He
is soft," " He is coarse," or " He is a fine
man." Some we describe as Nature's gentle-
men, while others are born mean. Let it be
understood that the Great Workman does
not expect the same results from every kind
of material. There is one thing He expects
from all, and something He has a right to
expect, and that is what all can do : we must
love God. That being so, there may be many
other things in which we differ from our fel-
lows ; but every one who loves God will some
day be with God. Let us then be charitable
with each other. Why should I be hard on
another Christian because he differs from
me ? Perhaps he has to make a great effort
to tolerate me. Let all the material in God's
workshop remember that whatever comes
there comes to be beautified. While this
thought will help me to bear with my fellow-
Christian, because I know that he will be
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improved before he leaves, so it will teach
me to be modest, inasmuch as I should not
be there if I were perfect !
Is it Ruskin who defines Art as that
which "gives form to thought and beauty
to utility " ? How well this applies to God,
the Great Workman. He is the Almighty
Artist. Every other artist is limited, if in
nothing else, certainly in time ; but not so
with Him who is at work before us. There
is no limit to His powers of invention, or to
the time He has at His disposal. He needs
no candle! How He shows His art in the
grace He gives the humblest material. It is
easy to recognise His hand. There is won-
drous individuality about His work. The
other day, the writer was dining in the new
home of an old friend, and saw before him a
painting that seemed like Wilson's work, and
said to the host, " Is that a Wilson ? " It
turned out to be so. And God does not need
to engrave His name on His work. The
THE HEAVENLY WORKMAN. 83
fact is, whatever God touches He ennobles.
Just as whatever the hand of Michael Angelo
wrought bore the mark of his genius, whether
in clay or bronze, so with His workmanship.
Whether it is a coarse, or soft, or hard man
He takes in hand, the man must be the
better for it. For instance, what different
men Elijah and Elisha were, — the one so
rugged, the. other so tender,— one best fitted
to live in the mountain cave, the other feeling
most at home in the domestic circle; yet both
of them were fashioned by God, and bore
the impress of His wonder-working hand.
Elijah was the grander man, but Elisha
would be the most beloved. Do not be dis-
heartened because you are inferior to some-
one else. Remember that a penny is as
much a coin of the realm as a sovereign.
It is well for us to have confi-
dence IN THE Workman.— What a dif-
ferent fate awaits some of the blocks of
marble which come into London as com-
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pared with others. They will all be used,
but how differently. One is taken to the
studio of the sculptor, to be carved into
some statue to be admired for ages ; another
is sawn into slabs to make the counter of
some gin palace ! If the former block could
know and feel the difference, how glad it
would be to find itself in the places where
statues are made. Let those of us who are
lovers of God never forget that we are in
the studio. It is not the purpose of the
Heavenly Workman to put us to any of the
baser uses we might have been fit for but for
His grace. "Who hath delivered us from
the power of darkness, and hath translated
us into the kingdom of His dear Son." God
means to make us that which He can con-
template with delight, and we may be sure
that every improvement in us brings Him
enjoyment. "He taketh pleasure in the work
of His hands."
This ought to reconcile us to what some-
THE HEAVENLY WORKMAN. 85
times seems hard treatment. We must learn
to trust the Workman at such times. A
statue is not finished without some violence.
The great mallet and chisel are used, knock-
ing off large pieces, and to anyone who did
not know, it would seem as though the square
block of marble was about to be destroyed.
But not so ; the sculptor sees the thing of
beauty in the rude block. And in like
manner God can see in us, even when un-
regenerate, what He designs us for. Is there
some one reading this who is passing through
great sorrow on account of sin ? It seems as
though you can never be happy again. Ah,
you are in the rough stage ; but God has not
done with you. When He has finished, He
will leave a smile on the face that shall never
change to sorrow. Confidence in the Work-
man will give us patience when He seems
long. We are ready to sing —
"Finish, then, Thy new creation,
Pure and spotless let us be."
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Yes, all in good time. He has His own
reasons for being slow. He is never in a
hurry. He can sleep when His disciples are
in great fear. But we are safe while He
sleeps, and He does not need to make haste.
We must not forget that the Work-
man has a Plan. — Life in any of us is a
very complicated affair. Things are always
happening — births, deaths, and marriages.
Business relations alter. Circumstances differ:
there seems no order or arrangements. It is
chaos to us. And yet God knows all, and
knows the precise bearing of each event on
our lives. It does not seem like it, and yet,
if we look back, we may often see that God
has been working all along in harmony with
one idea. Some time ago, when in Man-
chester, the writer saw the men at work
pulling down whole streets of houses to
make room for a new railway station. All
appeared ruin and disorder. Here was a
party digging out foundations; in another
THE HEAVENLY WORKMAN. 87
place the bricklayers were building walls;
elsewhere some one was setting out for other
walls; beyond them they were still pulling
down. It seemed like chaos, and yet in the
architect's office could be seen the elevation
and picture of the complete whole. Every
man was working to a plan. And so God has
His elevation, but He does not show it. " It
doth not yet appear." When Joseph was in
jail, he was in the path of Providence, and
the fetters of iron were as much part of the
plan as the chain of gold he wore when
brought to the summit of greatness.
What a variety of tools! — What are the
so-called means of grace but tools in the
hand of the Great Workman ? What are
preachers but God's chisels and hammers?
" Is not Thy word a hammer ? " And there-
fore we should be thankful for them, and
when we come to the place where the Word
is preached, we should expect to go out
better than we came in. Nor should we be
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impatient if there is a preacher who does not
suit us. It may not be our turn, for while
you are saying, " I cannot get any good under
him," some one else says, " Bless that man,
he always does me good ! " Not but what
some of us would be the better for sharpen-
ing. When I see the mason's lad taking
some scores of chisels to the forge to be
sharpened, I wish he could take as many
ministers to undergo the same process. For
no preacher ought to be dull !
Books too are tools. How much the Great
Workman has accomplished by the press!
Without naming the Bible, how many times
we have known a good book to produce some
feature of refinement in us. Some of us have
never been the same since we read some
religious books. How important is the work
of those who write them ! Especially sacred
poetry has, in the hands of the blessed Spirit,
been used to strengthen faith and confirm
hope. Dr. Watts spoke the experience of
THE HEAVENLY WORKMAN. 89
thousands of the saints of God when he
" Thus, Lord, while we remember Thee,
We blest and pious grow ;
By hymns of praise we learn to be
Triumphant here below."
But the finest work is often done by those
sharp-edged chisels called Pain and Bereave-
ment. How many of us are to be made
perfect by suffering ! It is not the dull tool
that can cut the fine lines. There are some
of us who owe whatever is beautiful in us to
the days when our joys were stunned and
left for dead. Even the Christ — let it be said
reverently — would not be all to us He is and
must ever be, if no tear had ever run down
His cheek, and if His laughter was louder
than His sobs ! He will always be the
dearer to us for having had to cry, "My
God, why hast Thou forsaken me ? "
Will the work ever be completed f Not in
this world certainly. There is no room for
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self-complacence. God has even in this world
made some glorious beings out of flesh and
blood. Moses, Elijah, Paul, are His work-
manship, and yet none of these ever thought
that he had climbed where there were no
loftier heights. One thing is apparent, — we
shall begin in heaven where we leave off in
this world, just as the student begins at the
University where he leaves off at school.
Where are you going ? In the quarry you
may see the blocks of marble waiting to be
put on the trucks ; but before they are sent
off they are marked with the initials of their
destined owner. You are allowed to choose
your eternal position. Jesus stands beside
you ready to mark you with His cross.
Shall He do it ?
Genesis xxviii. 12.
TI 7 HO can tell what his children may-
come to ? We know not their future.
After all our love and care, they may be
tramps in a casual ward ! Who would have
predicted that such a mother's lad as Jacob
was would have to sleep with a stone for
his pillow ? But what a number of mothers'
pets are private soldiers, or before the
mast ! Or, worse still, with feet soddened
with rain, walking the streets ! Rebekah
had herself to thank for much of her grief.
She taught Jacob to cheat his father and
brother. Esau said, "When father is dead.
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I will cut Jacob's throat ; " and he was very-
likely to keep his word, so the darling of
his mother must tramp for it. Isaac lived
to see the wanderer return a rich man, but
Rebekah " died without the sight." Even
in the best-trained families there may be
stray sheep; but it is possible to covenant
with God, so that the wanderer may, all un-
known to himself, be bound to the throne
While Jacob slept, " behold a ladder." He
had not thought of God when he lay down,
but here was a way up from earth to heaven,
and God at the top. Is it stretching a
figure too much to say that it is a picture
of Jesus ? Had not the Lord Himself this
' ladder in His mind when He said to the
first disciples, "Hereafter ye shall see heaven
open, and the angels of God ascending and
descending upon the Son of Man" ?
" Jesus that ladder is,
The incarnate Deity,
THE LADDER. 93
Partaker of celestial bliss,
And human misery ;
Sent from His high abode
To sleeping mortals given,
He stands, and man unites to God,
And earth connects with heaven."
Jesus, the ladder, connects earth
TO HEAVEN. — There is a way from this
sinful world to the pure heaven. Jesus is
the connecting link. Adam was ; but sin
broke the chain, and the world would have
been adrift but for Jesus. Christ is the new
and living way. No amount of sin in the
world can break the communication. He is
" the way of holiness." There is no part of
the world this ladder does not touch. Think
of the number of climbers. Who shall count
the children of all countries who pass by
Christ to heaven ? All countries are repre-
sented on the ladder. Then the angels,
bright and fair, passing on errands of mercy
to the elect, sent forth to minister for them
who shall be heirs of salvation, — are they
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not helping the saints up the ladder ? As
we look towards the top, we see some who
are nearing the end of the journey. Already
the glory is shining on their features. Others
are just stepping into heaven. What a
change for them ! And their feeling is
ever; — We could not have been here but
for the ladder. Do these who have gained
the top regret what they left behind? Do
they ever wish that they had held on to
the world ? Oh, how small the world looks
from the top, and the gold or the pleasures
are but shadows now.
Are all my readers on this ladder ? There
is no other that can take you right. If you
are not believing in Jesus, you are on the
highway to ruin. You may not walk in
the dirt, but you are in the way to hell if
out of Christ. Why should you not start
for glory to-day ? Begin to climb, if you
have not done so. Take hold of Jesus, and
you will find taking hold will lift you up the
THE LADDER. 95
first few steps. "Must I not give this up,
and that up ? " Yes, you must, but in trust-
ing your soul to the atonement, you will find
yourself lifted well out of the mire !
This ladder comes to sinners. — They
have not to fetch it. " Say not in thine heart,
Who shall ascend into heaven, that is, to
bring Christ? — The word is nigh thee."
God does not wait till we ask before He
sends salvation. He offers it to us. The
supplanter was surprised ; he had not ex-
pected this sign of the favour of God. It
was wonderful that it should come to him,
when he had not put up a prayer. What
is the proclamation of the Gospel but the
coming of the ladder-foot to the sleeping
sinner? We should not have been asto-
nished, had Jacob made a sacrifice before
he slept, to have seen the ladder in the
smoke of the offering : but to come unasked,
— ah, that is how it is ! If God had to wait
for us to begin, He would never have one
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sinner saved. " 1 am Alpha." Just as you can-
not spell the word salvation without the letter
a, so you cannot have heaven without Jesus.
He begins the work. None of us can say,
We have not been asked to climb. God
calls, Jesus beckons, angels whisper, saints,
ascending, shout, Come ! You cannot be in
the wrong place to start for heaven. There
was a path from the swine troughs to the
Father's house. The vilest of men may
start, if he will but take hold of Jesus. One
of the most foul-mouthed of men became a
preacher for Jesus, and wrote a hymn that
has been sung by millions of climbers : —
" The God of Abraham praise,
At whose supreme command
From earth I rise and seek the joys
At His right hand."
God is at the top, speaking kind
WORDS DOWN THE LADDER.— Jacob saw
the Lord above, and heard Him say, " I am
the Lord God of Abraham thy father."
THE LADDER. 97
" Behold, I am with thee," " I will not leave
thee." Think of this — God speaking kind
words to the supplanter ! Yes, and it is so
now. Christ is God's own plan. The ladder
whose foot is on the earth came down from
heaven. Can the Divine Being be anything
else but delighted with Jesus ? So much so
that sometimes when Jesus was here below,
a voice was heard saying, "This is my be-
loved Son." Do you see yonder life-boat
coming back through the surf? — she is filled
with men and women taken off the wreck.
Among the people on the shore, the most
excited and pleased at the sight is the
gentleman who gave the boat to that place
No wonder that he shouts words of encou-
ragement, as the poor creatures tremble at
the sight of the rollers breaking on the
Let such of my readers as are on the
ladder, encourage others to start. Shout
aloud for joy. If we only believed what
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God has said about His heaven, we should
look happy, and our faces would invite
others to come the same way. The smiles
of God's elect would encourage others to
venture. Should, however, the coldness of
the Church have daunted any one from
making a start, let him be persuaded to
look higher up. See the Lord in all His
majesty, delighting in what ? Mercy ! Yes,
listen for yourself. Do not let any one pre-
tend to interpret for you : God speaks in
the plainest of words — " Come unto me."
Suffer a few words of ADVICE TO
CLIMBERS.— To those who read this book
that mean to reach the top, we would say,
Be sure to get the right ladder ; there are
plenty of shams. We need not say any-
thing about Popery. That does not pretend
to take men to the top : the end of their
ladder is purgatory. When masses are said
for the repose of dead Cardinals and Popes,
other poor sinners must not think of heaven.
THE LADDER. 99
Formalism is a sham ladder. It is rotten,
and is sure to let men down. Besides, it is
too short. Hear the man who is going up :
" I fast twice in the week, I give tithes, I
am not as other men." He is at the top ;
he cannot get any farther. How different
to the man who is climbing up by Jesus !
We can hear him sing. They are wondrous
sweet, these ladder songs. Listen !
" I see stretched out to save me
The arm of my Redeemer ;
That arm shall quell
The powers of hell,
And silence the blasphemer.
I render Thee the glory,
I know Thou wilt deliver,
But let me rise
Above the skies,
And praise Thy love for ever.
Morality is of no use as a ladder. It got
broken in the fall, and all the bottom rounds
are out. You see all ten of them are gone.
You cannot reach the bottom step !
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Take firm hold. — You will want both
hands. If you could see those who have
fallen, you might learn what was the cause.
See, one had a money-bag ; as it got heavier
he had to take both hands to it, and down
he came. Another has a theatre ticket ; an-
other, a woman, has a letter, — it is an offer
of marriage. Jesus is not to be trifled with.
Grasp Him as a drowning man does a rope,
and even of good works say, —
" Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling."
Dorit look down, or you will be giddy. —
Looking down on others will make you feel
how well you have done to climb so far, and
keep on so long. If Peter had not looked
down, he might have kept from a bad fall.
It is true he got up and started again, but, as
you know, he went with a bad limp for many
a long day. This is true not only of young
Christians, but men fifty years of age are in
much more slippery places than they think
THE LADDER. 101
for. Look up : one look at God will steady
As an old Yorkshireman once said, Don't
come down to fetch any one else up. — Is not
that the reason why some are much lower
down than they were years ago ? Ask that
young woman the cause of her trouble, and
it is, " He promised he would go with me,
and now, not only does he refuse to do so,
but he tries to prevent me ! " If your friends
will not follow you up, leave them behind,
and join with those on the ladder who sing :
' My old companions, fare you well
I cannot go with you to hell ;
I mean with Jesus Christ to dwell
Let me go ! "
FINDING THE TRIBUTE-MONEY.
Matthew xvii. 27.
' I ^HE Gospels tell us, not only of the greater
actions of Jesus, but of some things that
are so small that few people care to meditate
upon them; and yet, some of these smaller
deeds are very beautiful. Glorious as was the
miracle of the raising of Lazarus, the most
beautiful thing in the incident is the tears
on Christ's cheek. He raised others from the
dead, but it was left for John to tell of his
Master's sympathy, in the words never to be
forgotten, " Jesus wept." The story we are
now writing about is not one of the great
miracles, and yet its lessons are well worth
our careful study.
FINDING THE TRIBUTE-MONEY. 103
There is what, for the want of a better
word, we must call the modesty OF Jesus.
Rather than offend the prejudices of the
people, He would waive His claim. The
men whose business it was to collect the
Temple dues, asked Peter if his Master did
not pay tribute ? Yes, said the man of
ready speech, and that without consulting
the Master. When he reached the house
where Jesus was, he was anticipated by
Christ asking him, "Of whom do the kings
of the earth take tribute ? of their own
children, or strangers ? " Of strangers, replied
Peter. "Then are the children free." That
is, I, being the Son of God, surely need not
to pay towards the repairs of my Father's
house. But rather than these who do not
acknowledge my Divine Sonship should
think I am careless about the Temple, I
will pay. He would rather pay than be a
Are not we, who call ourselves His disciples,
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too ready to put forth our titles to men's
respect, and to stand upon our dignity ? We
might learn from our Lord, who never arrayed
Himself in the style He might have done.
He put on the menial's livery, "made Him-
self of no reputation." As soon as we gain
a stripe, we are so eager to have it sewn on
our uniform. We do not like to miss a
single parade without our comrades knowing
they must touch their caps to us. The
Apostle Paul had to complain in his day,
" All seek their own, not Jesus Christ's." He
was a notable example of the contrary. For
though he was chief apostle, when at Corinth
he worked for his bread, and preferred
to sit at the loom for many weary hours,
rather than irritate those narrow-minded
Christians who did not like paying their
ministers. At Philippi he was tied up and
flogged, when he could have stopped the
proceedings by simply telling them that he
was a Roman. Might there not be more
FINDING THE TRIBUTE-MONEY 105
peace in the Church if we were more like our
Master — not too anxious to push our claims,
and to come to the front ? And in family
life, how many breaches might be prevented
if we were willing to forego our claims, and
give way to others; it is this being "righteous
over much" in our demands, it is claiming
the uttermost farthing, which causes so much
irritation. How many lawsuits might be
prevented if there were a little more of the
" nevertheless.' 1 Let us not be too exacting,
but seek the spirit of Christ, " Who, for the
joy set before Him, endured the cross."
We learn something of the poverty of
JESUS. Yes, if ever there was a poor man, it
was the Lord of life and glory. He did not
take fees when He healed the sick, or He
would not have been so familiar with want.
He had not fifteen pence, when He needed
it for church dues. Do not let us worry be-
cause we are obliged to sit on the free seats.
Christ could not have afforded to pay pew
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too ready to put forth our titles to men's
respect, and to stand upon our dignity ? We
might learn from our Lord, who never arrayed
Himself in the style He might have done.
He put on the menial's livery, "made Him-
self of no reputation." As soon as we gain
a stripe, we are so eager to have it sewn on
our uniform. We do not like to miss a
single parade without our comrades knowing
they must touch their caps to us. The
Apostle Paul had to complain in his day,
" All seek their own, not Jesus Christ's." He
was a notable example of the contrary. For
though he was chief apostle, when at Corinth
he worked for his bread, and preferred
to sit at the loom for many weary hours,
rather than irritate those narrow-minded
Christians who did not like paying their
ministers. At Philippi he was tied up and
flogged, when he could have stopped the
proceedings by simply telling them that he
was a Roman. Might there not be more
FINDING THE TRIBUTE-MONEY 105
peace in the Church if we were more like our
Master — not too anxious to push our claims,
and to come to the front ? And in family-
life, how many breaches might be prevented
if we were willing to forego our claims, and
give way to others; it is this being "righteous
over much" in our demands, it is claiming
the uttermost farthing, which causes so much
irritation.. How many lawsuits might be
prevented if there were a little more of the
"fflevertheless." Let us not be too exacting,
but seek the spirit of Christ, " Who, for the
joy set before Him, endured the cross"
We learn something of the poverty of
JESUS. Yes, if ever there was a poor man, it
was the Lord of life and glory. He did not
take fees when, He healed the sick, or He
would not have been so familiar with want.
He had not fifteen pence, when He needed
it for church dues. Do not let us worry be-
cause we are obliged to sit on the free seats.
Christ could not have afforded to pay pew
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rent. Let us not chafe ourselves with the
thought of our poverty. There is no dis-
grace in being short of money. We need
not be ignoble because we are poor. We
may win honour if we have an empty pocket,
and the Victoria cross looks well on a private's
There is something of greater moment
than wealth, and that is character. Money
may not elevate, good deeds do. You may
put a diamond ring in a swine's snout, and
it will not cease to grunt. Let us not look
at our banking account to see how much we
are worth. We touch our hats to a man be-
cause, as we say, he is worth half a million
of money, when the real truth is, he is not
worth the clothes he stands in. It is true,
the bank would honour any cheque he draws,
but in heaven they have no mansion waiting
for him. In the conventional meaning of
the words, Christ was not worth fifteen pence ;
yet He could heal the sick and raise the
FINDING THE TRIBUTE-MONEY, 107
dead. It will be worth our while to weigh
ourselves in the true balances, and to find
out Heaven's assessment of our belongings.
On the other hand, this story gives us A
peep into Christ's resources. Though He
had not the money by Him, He knew where
it was. The gold and silver are all His. He
it was who laid the golden streaks in the
river beds of California. He knew of this
money in the fish's mouth. How did it get
there ? Those of us who use the rod and
line know a fish will swallow anything
bright. Perhaps the coin had fallen out of
some child's hand, crossing the ferry, or it
may have been in the girdle of some drowned
fisherman. What an amount of treasure
there must be in the sea ! more under the
blue waves than in all the banks in the
world. It could be brought out if the Lord
willed it, and yet His treasury is often empty.
Some of us think what good we would do
if we had but the gold. This is by no means
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certain. Depend upon it, with all the work
that needs doing, and that cannot begin for
the want of money, if God dare but trust His
people with riches, He would put us in the
way of getting the wealth that now lies
This is true of everything that God
needs. He can help Himself to what He
wants out of Satan's lockers. Was not Saul
of Tarsus as much out of the Church's
reach as the piece of money many fathoms
deep ? And yet Christ put a hook in Satan's
nostril, and brought Saul to make many
rich by circulating among the heathen. It
may be that some of us may live to see the
work of God carried on by hands now used
to build forts for Satan to occupy. Was
not Luther the monk as much hidden as
the piece of money? And it may be that
from the Romish communion we may get
someone who shall be as effective as he was ;
or that from the companionship of Brad-
FINDING THE TRIBUTE-MONEY. 109
laugh we may have some notable defender
We do well to learn, however, that God
DOES NOT OFTEN ACT WITHOUT HUMAN
AGENCY. Christ could have done without
Peter. It would have been easy to have
willed it, and the fish would have swum to
His feet as He stood by the side of the lake,
and have dropped the coin within his reach.
But He knew that Peter could catch the
fish, and so he was sent to do what he was
able. It appears to be the Divine plan to
do what men cannot, but not to act for us.
The farmer cannot make the seed germinate;
he cannot make the rain to fall, or cause
the sun to shine; but he can plough and
sow, neither of which God ever does. The
mariner cannot make the wind to blow,
but he can weigh the anchor, and trim the
sails. Creation and industry are partners.
Is it not so in spiritual things ? We cannot
save, ourselves. We cannot atone for sin,
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but we can believe in the atonement made
by Jesus. ' Without grace we perish, but we
can accept the grace which bringeth salva-
tion. This will holds good in Church work.
The preacher cannot save a soul by the
most powerful appeal, but he can prepare
that which interests the congregation. An
indolent preacher is a useless one. So in
the training of our children : we must work
if God is to work with us.
Does not God use the best means within
His reach ? Peter was a fisherman. It
would have been useless to send some
other of the apostles. Levi might have
stood there till now before he caught a fish.
He could prepare a Church schedule, but
fishing was not his business. Let us send
Peter to the work he is best fitted for.
"The round peg too often gets into the
This story teaches us that HE WHO WORKS
for Jesus is sure to get his pay. " That
FINDING THE TRIBUTE-MOWEY.
take, and give unto them for thee and
me." Christ wanted fifteen pence, and Petei
took out of the fish's mouth half-a-crown !
And thus, in obeying Christ, he paid his own
taxes. In keeping His commandments there
is great reward. Let us not stumble at the
mystery. Peter might have said, Lord, I
never did yet take a fish with money in
its mouth : or, Lord, how is the fish to know
that it is to come to my hook ? The lake
has thousands of fish, and yet you say, " The
first that cometh up." It was enough for
Peter that Christ gave the order. He had
learned that commandments are promises,
and that for God to say a thing must be
done, made it possible.
" Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to that alone ;
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries it shaM be done,"
If we win anything for Jesus, He will share
it with us. "Me and thee* -He that
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overcometh shall sit down on my throne."
"He that reapeth receiveth wages." Are we
then among the disciples of Jesus ? Is it
"Me and thee ? " Are you a co-worker with
God ? If not, there must be personal sur-
render. We may be in arms against God,
but if we submit He is ready to forgive.
He will put us in the ranks of His army, and
we may yet win spoilt for Christ and our-
selves. "Me and thee." Christ will share
all He has with His bride. He will endow
her with endless beauty and glory. All He
has shall be ours. " Me and thee " is the
fortune of the believer.
WAITING IN MERCY'S HOUSE.
John v. i — 14.
TI7HO wonders that a place which had
such a history as that described in
this chapter should be called mercy's house ?
So many people had at different times there
obtained mercy, that there is nothing re-
markable in the title the place had won. It
is worth while to bear in mind that it was
close by the sheep-market. We should not
have been surprised if we had- heard of it as
being near unto the Temple; but, as if God
would teach us that His mercy is to be got
wherever sought, the house of mercy is close
by the place where money is made ; and so,
it is not only where the melodious organ fills
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the fretted aisles with sacred sounds that the
sorrowing and helpless soul may meet with
mercy, but in the haunts of busy commerce,
or anywhere else, the heart that needs conso-
lation may meet with Jesus.
How came the five porches to be built ?
Had some of those which had found health
in the spring built these alcoves for the com-
fort of seekers for mercy, and thus shown
their appreciation of what they had received ?
It would have been a fitting thing, and it is
so yet. Let those who find grace to help in
the means provided, see to it that, so far as
they have the power, others have the chance
of getting the same privileges.
Let us linger at this pool-side, and learn
the lessons the Author of this sacred life of
Christ intended us to learn. And as we
learn, let us write on the walls of these
porches, that others coming after us may be
all the wiser for our stopping here. In the
first porch write up —
WAITING I'N MERCY'S HOUSE. 115
It is never too late to mend.— It
is evident the man whom Jesus saw at the
pool-side thought so. One cannot but admit
the tenacity with which he clung to the
hope of recovery It was What the late
Jabez Bunting liked to call "obstinate
faith." % Thirty-eight years a victim to the
disease, and; yet hoping for a cure. How
often he had been disappointed! Just as
the water was troubled, he made the effort,
but had always been too late. Having no
one to assist him, he could not drag him-
self to the pool before someone else who had
helpers was in, and healed. One can see
him as heusmiles a sickly smile, and whispers,
"Better luck next time," and goes back to
wait the next moving of the waters.
It is more than possible that some of my
readers need to be encouraged to hope that
it is not too late to be cured of the malady
which threatens to destroy the soul. You
may be in a sad case, but yet do not despair.
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The enemy whispers that it is too late. He
holds you by the chains of some sinful habit ;
but Christ can deliver you, impotent as you
are. Perhaps you are held down by some
sinful friendship, and may feel that it is quite
impossible for you to get free ; but God can
save, by so changing your life that your com-
panions shall no longer desire your society.
Or you may be old, grown grey in vice, yet
it is not too late to make those grey hairs a
crown of glory, instead of the fool's cap they
Whatever you do, don't lose hope of those
of your friends who seem almost too far
gone to be recovered. Satan could not wish
for anything better than that your hopes
should die, and your prayers cease. There
are men hanging over the pit of destruction
to-day ; the rope that holds them is parting :
see, some of the strands are worn through.
Education, godly training, respect for the
sabbath, reverence for the name of God,— all
WAITING IN MERCY'S HOUSE. 117
these are gone : only a mother's prayers hold
them from the flame. Pray on, let not
despair cut the last thread that holds them
this side the pit. Read what we have written
in the first of the porches : —
It is never too late to mend.
And now let us visit the second porch,
and write up another of the lessons we learn
at the pool-side. Waiting on the Lord
IS TRUE WISDOM. — If you don't wish to
grow worse, keep in mercy's house. Do not
be persuaded to give up going to the place
of worship you have attended, though you
know that 'tis but outward show. How
pleased the enemy of your soul would be
if he could but persuade you to spend the
whole of your life away from God. As it is,
there is at least an hour each week in which
you are among those who praise and pray.
You have heard the master whom you have
served faithfully in all but this whisper,
What is the use of going to a place of wor-
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ship when your heart is so hard ? What is
the use of ever looking into the Bible, or
listening to sermons ? Do not these things
make you uncomfortable ? Why do you
continue in them ? Ah, my friend, don't
listen to him! It is the one thing which
keeps hope alive. " Faith cometh by hear-
ing." Do not close the last avenue of hope.
It may be that some of my readers have
been long convinced of sin, and yet never
able to rejoice in God our Saviour. You are
tempted to give up. "Why go where sin
is denounced and Christ preached ? You
are no happier. Better attend some more
fashionable place, where the preacher deals
in generalities, and does not give such
home thrusts." So people might have said
to this man, " Why keep going to the pool ?
What better are you ? You are only made
to feel greater disappointment. Someone
»viU get in before you again, and you will be
left as bad as ever." Supposing such counsels
' WAITING IN MERCY'S HOUSE. 119
had prevailed, and the poor man had stayed
at home the day Christ visited the place?
There is no wisdom like waiting. He was a
wise man who said, " If I die without salva-
tion, I will die at the feet of the Saviour."
Wait on the Lord, I say, and while waiting,
" Jesus, take my sins away,
And make me know Thy name ;
Thou art now as yesterday,
And evermore the same.
Thou my true Bethesda be :
I know within Thine arms is room ;
All the world may unto Thee,
Their house of mercy, come."
Let us visit the third porch, and write
up, in bright, cheerful tints, another of the
sweet lessons learned here. Christ IS the
SHORT WAY TO COMFORT. The pool was
called the house of mercy, but Christ was
mercy itself. All mere human instrumen-
talities are to Jesus what the house is to
the Master. We" have in this story an in-
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dication of Christ's plan of saving men.
The poor man did not ask Jesus to heal
him. It was mercy who took the initiative,
and said, Wilt thou be made whole ? Do
any of my readers wish to be cured of sin ?
If so, He asks, Do you wish for salvation ?
not, mind you, Do you wish to escape hell ?
That may be the beginning of repentance;
the fear of hell has led some to seek the
Lord, but it is not the only wish in the
penitent heart. There are many who love
sin as much as ever, yet would like to
escape hell. If such were to die, and as
the soul left the body, had to pass the
gates, and was told to choose which gate
you will enter — one is the door of hell and
the other the gate of heaven — of course the
gate of bliss would be chosen ; but that is
not what Jesus asks us. It is, Will you
be made holy ? Will you become like me ?
Is not this the true reason of so many
remaining unsaved? They do not wish to
WAITING IN MERCY'S HOUSE. 121
be good ; they hate the restriction of virtue ;
they don't wish to have to deny self. They
say, Give us heaven, because we fear hell,
but don't let heaven begin below !
Mark that Christ gave a command as
well as asked a question. " Take up thy
bed and walk? This was something that
was a physical impossibility ; yet the man
made the effort, and was helped of God,
and so was made whole. What does Jesus
say to you ? Mind, not to everybody, but
to those who are willing to be saved, — not
to those who want heaven rather than holi-
ness, but to those who wish to be like
Jesus ? He says, " Believe on me." Why say
you cannot believe ? God's commandments
are promises. He never commands what
He will not help us to do. "Believe that I
am your surety, that I have answered for
your guilt, not hoping that you might fulfil
the law's demands ; but knowing that you
would not, I have suffered for you ; I pro-
122 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
mised to pay your debt, and I have paid it."
Show that you believe this by rejoicing in
Jesus. You cannot believe without peace
coming to your heart. Can I illustrate this ?
Suppose that you are a young tradesman,
and that by some bad debts you have
made, your money is gone, and you have
had to overdraw your account at the bank.
You receive a note from the manager, ask-
ing you to call ; you do so, when he tells '
you that he cannot let you go on, and
that if you don't settle before to-morrow he
will sell you up ! You are in despair, but
in the afternoon another note from the
manager ; you know the handwriting, and
fear to break the seal, just as you feel
about reading your Bible. At last you do
so, and read that an old friend has heard
of your difficulties, and told the bank that
he will be your surety, and as he is rich*
his name stands good for you. Now, if
you believe this, can you do anything but
WAITING IN MERCVS HOUSE. 123
rejoice? Who would laugh at you if you
were to leap for joy ? Just so, and if you
will read the 53rd of Isaiah, you will see
that "the Lord hath laid on Him the
iniquities of us all." Believe that, and you
cannot but be happy.
In the next of the porches we will write
up another of the lessons we learn here,
namely, the newly saved may expect
The man who had been impotent, but
had been healed, was met as he # was going
down the street by those who objected
to his carrying his bed. One would have
thought that their delight in seeing him
cured would have overcome their regard for
the letter of the law. But it has ever been
so ; no sooner do we obtain a blessing from
God than some one or other objects to
our joy in it. Should some one read this
who has recently been much blessed of
God, do not be surprised if some one tries
124 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
to rob you of your new-found joy. And
most likely it will be some one who ought
to have been the last to do so. There are
not a few, even of those who are amongst
the friends of God, who don't see the full
meaning of "Rejoice with them that do
rejoice." They cannot understand the en-
thusiasm of those who have experienced a
great deliverance. They themselves had
never been in the far country, and cannot
tell why there should be such rejoicings
over the return of him who " spent all and
began to be in want." Do not let us be
found amongst those who would stop the
man who now carries that which once
carried him !
And to those of my readers who have
just been made happy in Jesus, let me say,
Let not anyone stop you from joy in the
Lord, it is your strength. But do not be
surprised if you meet with those who wish
to stop you. See, here they come ; listen to
WAITING IN MERCY'S HOUSE. 125
them for a moment. "What, you rejoicing
in God ? Take care that you are not pre-
suming ! Do you think that you have
repented as you ought to have done ?
Would it not be more seemly if one so
wicked as you have been had wept more
bitterly, and waited longer at the gate of
repentance ? " Say, He who made me whole,
said, Carry thy bed. Here is another of
these would-be critics of Jesus. "What, re-
joicing ? Don't you know that we live in
a wicked world, and that you may soon
fall?" Yes. I know all that, but He who
forgave me has promised me strength to
hold on to the end. And He would take
me to heaven, to save me from hell.
Have we not here the secret of much of
the religious persecutions which have dis-
graced Christianity ? The newly-liberated
soul, fresh from the presence of the Saviour,
daring to rejoice without the permission
of the Church. What are the victories of
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Protestantism but the carrying of the bed,
in spite of the Sanhedrim ? Let us listen
to Jesus. If He says, Take up thy bed
and walk, do as He bids you, in spite of
priest or presbytery.
There is yet one porch we have not
entered. There, too, we will write up a
sentence, in bold black capitals. It is this —
SIN WILL HURT YOU MORE THAN DISEASE.
Jesus found the man in the temple ; He
could not have found him in a better place.
The last words spoken by our Lord are
very significant : " Sin no more, lest a worse
thing come unto thee!' What, worse than
eight-and-thirty years of such torment as I
have had ? Yes ! What is that something
worse ? It is not for me to dwell upon it
now, only to say that preachers nowadays
seem afraid to use the language Jesus used
concerning the punishment of sin. Surely
He knew what He was about. Let us not
try to persuade ourselves that we are more
WAITING IN MERCY'S HOUSE. 127
tender than He was. He whose kind heart
would not allow him to look on that impo-
tent man without giving him relief, told
him that if he sinned again he might suffer
still more than he had done. Was he less
kind in the temple than at the pool-side ?
Beware, then, of sin! It leads to more
than physical pain. There are those in
hell who would gladly change places with
those who are now on beds of agony. We
know they were wise of whom it is said,
" Others were tortured not accepting deliver-
ance? They preferred the stake to hell fire,
and the gloom of the dungeon to the dark-
ness of the prison-house where God's felons
A GOOD MAN'S BAD SON.
"And departed without being desired." — 2 Chron.
"TROLLY is often the father of sin. It
was so in the history we are about to
study. Jehoshaphat was a very good man ;
no one can read his biography and not
admire him ; and yet he had a weakness
which well-nigh proved fatal to himself, and
certainly was ruin to his household, though
there was a great deal of that which is lovely
about the king of Judah. He was pious
and gentle, devoted to the welfare of his
people, taking great pains to lead them in
the path of virtue ; but there was one glaring
inconsistency which undid a great deal of
the good he would otherwise have effected.
A GOOD MAWS BAD SON. 129
And here let us note a lesson for parents, which
is this — Folly in fathers may become sin
IN THEIR SONS. The pious king showed his
children a good example, so far as we know,
in everything but his love for the society of
the ungodly and worldly. He was friendly
with Ahab. This friendship nearly cost him
his life at the battle of Ramoth-Gilead, and
lost him wealth by the wreck of the navy
he had built to go with the ships of Ahaziah,
king of Israel. The children of Jehoshaphat
did not leave off where their father did.
We may feel ourselves strong enough to go
nearer to sin than some good people dare
to do. We run a fearful risk in this way,
and often forget that we cannot go alone,
whether we do well or ill. Our children are
sure to imitate us, and they may not have
the same love for the right that we have,
and so, like as Jehoram was not content to
be merely on visiting terms with Ahab, but
married his daughter, if we are not careful,
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we may take our children where they may
choose to stop, instead of going back with
Perhaps this is more true of folly than
sin. It often happens that bad men have
good children. Shocked by the crimes of
their father, the sons will recoil from the
sin which brings misery to their home. On
the other hand, seeing that the conduct of
their father does not produce much outward
mischief, they rush on to their ruin, and the
old man's grey hairs are brought down with
sorrow to the grave, and the tears scald the
withered cheek all the more because con-
science whispers, " You showed the lads the
way." For instance. Let a man be fond
of his glass. Not a drunkard, " but likes a
drop of something good," and yet does not
neglect his business, or is ever seen to be
what is called "the worse for liquor," yet
the decanters are always about, and any-
thing is an excuse for "something hot." In
A GOOD MAN'S BAD SON. 131
such a case, it does not need a prophet to
see that some one or more of the lads will
kill himself with drink one of these days.
He will not have the power to stop himself,
or will, by the time he has got to like the
glass, have made himself companions of a
very different kind to those his father has,
— men who rather like to be " merry," and
who have no objection to going home now
and then decidedly drunk. We know what
this leads to. If we are not careful in this
matter of strong drink, vvc may have to
mourn over the grave of our sons killed
before their prime, and laid in a drunkard's
Or let a father be unwise in his treatment
of the Sabbath Day. Let him not be a
Sabbath breaker in the ordinary sense of
- the word, — never going a-pleasuring on the
Lord's Day, but not hesitating, if there is a
popular preacher to be heard, to leave his
place at the head of his own pew, to ru*"
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after some novelty. It was too far to walk,
and so he must ride, — there was no help for
it. What is there to wonder at if, when the
boys are men, they never, or but rarely, sit
where their old father does on the Lord's
Day? Very likely, when little boys, they
rode in the " underground " or some tram
on the Sunday, and they don't see that
there is more sin in riding a mile or two
farther, though it was not to a preaching,
but pleasuring. It is not too much to say
that very often we see that sermon hunters
breed Sabbath breakers.
Take another case. Here is a father who
is not a liar ; you would wrong him, it may
be, if you described him as such ; and yet
he can sail very near the wind. He would
not tell a bare-faced lie, but he does not
mind very much if a customer deceives
himself. " Why should I tell him ? he ought
to know his business." What must this do
for children and servants ? Is there anything
A GOOD MAN'S DAD SON. 133
to be wondered at if they allow him to
deceive himself, and then go on from that
to actual dishonesty and deceit. Let parents
show their children how safely they can
walk on the edge of the precipice, and some
day they will see the child they love the
most fall over. Jehoram walked in the way
of the kings of Israel, like as did the house
of Ahab, but it was his father, good king
Jehoshaphat, that taught him the way to the
dwelling of Ahab !
This brings us to another lesson, taught
by the history of this bad man, which is —
OUR WEDDING DAY MAY BE THE WORST
DAY'S WORK WE EVER DID. It was SO with
Jehoram. " He had the daughter of Ahab to
wife." He had been used to go to the
palace of the king of Israel, and soon was
infatuated with the beauty of Jezebel's
daughter. Most young folks look forward
to, marrying, and having a home of their
own, — and very properly so, too : but too
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often there is not enough consideration
about the kind of man or woman we are
going to marry. It is not enough that he
is rich, or that she is beautiful : what is
money, or good looks even ? One is round
and rolls away, and the other is but skin
deep. It is well to ask, " What sort of a
family does he belong to ? " " I like to marry
into a good stock," said one. Yes, and if we
were as particular about men and women as
we are about our flocks and herds, we should
save money and tears. There is many a
man who is very careful as to the breeding
of his cattle and sheep, and yet will never
enquire or care about the pedigree of the
girl his son is to marry. She has a lot of
money, and yet, if he thought of it, he could
not help but see that either a fool or a
knave might be grandson to him, and no
Don't marry into Ahab's family, whatever
there may be of wealth or beauty. Let
A GOOD MAN'S BAD SON. 135
Ahab have Jezebel, and let them breed
their own kind : why should we have them
mixed with us ? It is not for nothing that
Holy Writ tells us, " The sons of God saw
the daughters of men that they were fair"
and directly afterwards we read, "And God
saw that the wickedness of man was great in
the earth? These things go together now,
and we cannot marry the houses of Jehosha-
phat and Ahab together without bringing
new sorrows into the world. "For lie had
the daughter of Ahab to wife, and he wrought
that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord?
Sometimes, when we see a man or woman
marrying into the house of Ahab, we can
foresee the evil, and, in spite of bright skies,
orange blossom, and the noise of laughter,
we could weep in silence, for we can see
the shadow of evil, and hear the steps of
coming doom ! It is all in vain that the
bells ring merry peals. To us we feel that
it is a mockery, and we are ready to say,
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" Toll, oh, toll, ye bells ! Toll for dead hope !
Toll for laughter soon to die ! Toll for past
joys never more to return ! Toll, toll, ye
bells, for despair will be the fruit of this
transient joy ! Wedding days are the prelude
to the funeral of happiness when the house
of Jehoshaphat marries into the doomed
house of Ahab ! "
What followed this wedding ? The pious
king was carried to his fathers, and "Jehoram
his son reigned in his stead." The three
score years and ten were soon over, but
before the. father died, he took pains, as he
thought, to leave his property so that all
his sons should be in comfort. He had
considerable property, and he left each son
both gold, and silver, and fenced cities, but
to the firstborn he gave the" kingdom. But
no sooner had the wicked king got strong
in his new position than he used his power
to make himself still richer : he greedily
grasped at the possession of his brothers.
A GOOD MAN'S BAD SON. 137
From what we know of the bloodthirsty
character of Athaliah, it is more than pro-
bable that this was the prompting of the
daughter of Jezebel. To get the wealth
of his brothers he must take their lives, and
so very soon he was the only one of Jehosha-
phat's sons left 1 All the others had been
And here we are taught another lesson
—HE WHO REBELS AGAINST GOD MUST
EXPECT HIS INFERIORS TO REBEL AGAINST
HIM. At the first Jehoram had it all his
own way ; he slew his brethren and took
their wealth, but very soon trouble came
from another quarter. Edom rebelled against
Judah. They refused to pay tribute, and
although Jehoram made war, it was all
in vain, for though at the first he won a
victory, yet the result of the campaign was
against Judah. Libnah next revolted.
Worse and worse; the warlike Philistines
and Arabians combined against the king-
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of Judah, and, coming to his royal city,
pillaged it, and carried away his wives and
children, so that only one of his sons was
left to him. If we rebel against God, we
must not be surprised if we have to struggle
against rebellion in those beneath us. If
we rob God. why should we be astonished
if banks break, or those we trust commit
fraud ? We are only reaping what we have
sown. If we disobey our Father which is
in heaven, shall we complain if our children
are unnatural ? God is not the only one
who has to say, " / have nourished and
brought up children, and they have rebelled
against me" Let us resolutely continue to
disobey God, following our own desires, and
refusing to listen to His commands, or to
heed His rebuke, and then we shall fit our-
selves to be trampled under foot of those
who used to tremble at our voice, and we
may have to say of those beneath us what
the King of heaven has said of us: "/
A GOOD MAN'S BAD SON. 139
have stretched out my hand and no man
regarded." Jehoram died in the bloom of
manhood, but he lived long enough to see
that "he that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity."
There is yet another bitter moral in this
tragic tale — the Word of God may be-
come OUR WORST ENEMY.
Elijah had no good thing for the house
of Ahab. There was no love lost between
them. He was able to foresee the evil that
would come through the unholy alliance.
He saw that robbery and murder would be
the fruit of the marriage, and he wrote a
letter to the king, which seems to have
been given to him after the translation of
the prophet. In this writing is foretold the
doom of the bloody king ; he was told that
because he had slain better men than himself
he should die a painful and loathsome death.
And so it came to pass. How Jehoram must
have trembled when first the internal pain
foretold his doom ! It was useless for phy-
i 4 o NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
sicians to prescribe,— there was no remedy for
the plague of God. He who had so con-
sistently rebelled against right, and God,
found that his own body had rebelled
against him. No longer would nerves and
muscles obey his will ; and he died amidst
tortures of the most dreadful character.
And all along the writing which came from
the man of God would stare him in the face.
What was the use of doctors writing a pre-
scription ? there was one already written,
which could not fail, and so he must die.
What shall we do in the face of this sad
story ? Shall we not listen to the voice of
God, as it calls us to repentance and faith
in His Son ? Shall we not accept the offer
of Divine mercy and forgiveness, and sue
for pardon ere it be too late ? None of us
need go where Jehoram has gone. God is
never more in earnest than when He offers
pardon to those that will forsake their sins,
and trust in His Son ; but if we keep on
A GOOD MAN'S BAD SON. 141
refusing we may find in old age or pre-
mature fatal sickness that the very promises
scourge us more keenly than the warnings of
Scripture. The sermon we have heard and
despised, may knot the lash which con-
science uses to whip the heart.
Jehoram was but forty years of age when
he was carried to his unwept and dis-
honoured tomb. Let not those of us who
are the children of the godly forget that this
hated and miserable man was the firstborn
of Jehoshaphat. His people made no burning
for him, like the burning of his fathers, and,
though he was buried in the city of David,
it was not in the royal tomb. His history
in the Book of God teaches us that none fall
so low as those whom privilege has exalted,
but who have cared for self rather than right,
and for lust more than loyalty to God.
" Where hast thou gleaned to-day ? n — Ruth ii. 19.
nr^HOSE of us who have lived in the
country will be familiar with the
groups of women and children we have
seen coming home laden with grain they
have gathered by littles through the long
day. Sometimes, as when the weather is
constantly wet, it does not pay the poor
to go out on this errand, but if the harvest
has been a dry time, and the grain left in
the fields can be picked up in the same
condition that it fell, many of the poor will
gather a heap of corn that will, when
threshed and sold, buy them a great deal
of their winter clothing. There is, however,
a great difference nowadays. It is not
every farmer who allows the poor a chance.
To use Mr. Spurgeon's words, " There are
men who would not leave the poor a
morsel, and would if possible rake their
fields with a small tooth comb." This is
not as it should be. God gave His ancient
people directions in this matter. " And
when ye reap the harvest of your land,
thou shalt not make clean riddance of the
corners of thy field, when thou reapest,
neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of
thy harvest ; thou shalt leave them unto
the poor and to the stranger. I am the
Lord your God." On the other hand, the
writer has heard a farmer complain that
the poor are too indolent to glean, and
that it is useless to leave them anything,
for they would not pick it up.
God's model farmer, Boaz, said to the
reapers, "Let fall some of the handfuls on
purpose for her." That looks better than a
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notice on the gate, scaring the widow and the
orphan : " Trespassers will be prosecuted ; "
the grain will fatten geese and partridges,
but bairns are worth more than birds. The
fields do not look so tidy with the grain
left about, but it would be well for us
who are preachers to listen to the voice
of Boaz when He bids us " let fall some
of the handfuls." There is a story told of
an eminent minister that once, when
preaching before an association of ministers
and deacons, after a most elaborate and
beautiful sermon, broke out into exhorta-
tion to faith in Jesus, and the acceptance
of salvation. This did not belong to the
sermon, and it was evident to those who
had listened to him that it was some-
thing added to his preparation. One of
his friends after the service said to him,
"Why did you put in that bit of exhorta-
tion at the end ; your sermon was finished ;
why tack that on ? " " Why," said the good
man, " I saw a poor labouring man come
in just as I was finishing; he had not
heard the sermon, and I could not bear for
him not to have anything to carry away."
There are some of my readers whose
only chance of obtaining knowledge is
by gleaning. Their education has been
neglected. Their opportunities of attending
a place of worship are few. Their time for
reading is limited. In a word, they are not
farmers, and can never show a stack : they
can only gather by gleaning. To such let me
say, GLEAN WHERE THE CORN GROWS AND
LIES NEAR AT HAND. It IS of no use to go
where it is not. You will not find the
corn by the wayside, or on the moor.
You must go to the fields : it is only on
the cultivated land you can find it. And
so with the knowledge that is worth
possessing. It is not to be found every-
where. For instance, it is not from every
pulpit you hear the gospel : Why go where
1 46 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
Christ is not preached ? Music will not feed
the soul. A beautiful ritual will not satisfy
the craving of the heart, nor will rhetoric stop
the pangs of hunger. Intellectual preaching,
as it is sometimes called, as if gospel preach-
ing could only be done by simpletons, does
not, of itself, bind up the broken heart. If
your soul is to be fed, go where the bread-
corn lies within your reach.
It is not in all company that you may
glean wisdom. " He that walketh with
wise men shall be wise." To listen to
some people's conversation is as profitable
as eating chaff, and indeed there are not
a few to whom to hearken is to gather
poison. How unwise for us to stock our
memory with what will prove ammunition
or rations for Satan's soldiers, and yet this
is sure to be the case if we hearken to the
wicked. It would be well for us to bear
in mind that we cannot be friendly with
the ungodly without storing up some of
the talk we hear, and that we thus store
sorrow for the future.
It is not every book from which we
can glean corn. Books are wide fields : the
gates are open, we are welcome to walk
about. Have a care, you cannot get rid
of what you pick up. Reading a bad book
is to gather poison. You must eat what
you glean in this way. What would not
many Christian men and women give if
they could only forget some things they
have read ! How verses of licentious songs
will come up, even amidst psalmody, and un-
clean jokes will get between the lines of
good reading. To the most of us, Where
hast thou gleaned ? is but another way of
saying, What hast thou got as the result
of thy life ?
To glean successfully WE MUST BE WILL-
ING TO STOOP. Gleaning is stooping. A
back that won't bend means a back that will
ache for want of food. The woman that
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means to carry a large burden home must
keep her head down all the day. The writer
heard a man behind a counter say, "The
worst folks to deal with are those who
know all you are going to say." This is
true enough. A schoolboy who thinks he
knows it all is the most hopeless of pupils.
The apprentice who will not be told never
learns his trade. When the Israelites went
out to gather manna, they did not find it
hanging by clusters from the tree branches,
but on the ground : they must stoop to eat.
And is it not so with the bread of life ? He
who would be fed thereof must humble
himself. We may stand, with the Pharisee,
and tell of our goodness, but we shall not
go down justified. And in the pursuit of
knowledge we must be willing to stoop.
One reason so many of us are ignorant is,
not that knowledge is not to be had, but
we don't like people to see us among the
learners. We do not care to be seen to
stoop ! Many a man would have risen if
he could have afforded to stoop for awhile.
When the eminent missionary, Dr. Milne,
first offered for mission work, he was such
a rustic that the Committee would not be
persuaded he could become a missionary,
but one of the members told Dr. Philip
that it would perhaps be worth while to
send him out as a servant to the mission.
Dr. Philip spoke to Milne aside on this
proposal, and asked him if he would con-
sent. With a smile, the future eminent
man said, " Certainly, to be a hewer of
wood is too great an honour for me when
the Lord's house is building." So, by
stooping, he rose to be the great man
whom God honoured so much in China.
If we would glean a heap, we must be
content with A little at a time. The
woman who has gathered the largest bundle
of corn never once picked up a handful. It
was mostly in single ears. "Here a little,
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and there a little." It is wonderful what
may be done by never passing by a thing
that is worth preserving. To note down,
every day, each remarkable thing, would
make a wonderful volume in time. To do
this thoroughly, we must know the value
of each grain of truth. In our own expe-
rience it is not the sermon that has been
effective, but some one thought on it, and
that perhaps some very simple thing. How
much comfort we have obtained from some
line of a hymn ! Or perhaps some simple
anecdote has done what the effort of the
preacher had failed to accomplish.
It would be well for us to pick up all
that is worth gleaning. We have trampled
under foot during our lives that which, if
saved, would have done much to make a
golden old age for ourselves. What waste
of thought there is for want of care for the
littles ! Much goes to the manure heap
that might have made muscle and fibre.
If any young folks do me the honour of
reading this, be advised to pick up every
good thing that comes within reach, and
don't let the thought that it is only a
little prevent your stooping, for stacks are
made up of single straws, and London is
made up of single houses, which were built
a brick at a time.
No one can glean well who is not ABLE
TO PERSEVERE. Gleaning is tiring work. It
means a back-ache. Whenever we see a
bundle of corn on a gleaner's head, we
know she must have stooped thousands of
times. None but those who have done
it know how hard it is to glean that which
is to be of any use. The poor must not
give up because they are tired ; and this
holds good in many things, besides work-
ing in the fields. We must, if we mean
to succeed, be willing to go on long after
we are weary. We cannot expect to have
it all our own way. If we were as willing
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to spur ourselves to perseverance as we
are to urge on our weary horses, we should
accomplish much more than we do.
Abraham Lincoln was asked if he thought
the war would be over while he was
President. "Can't say, sir." "But, Mr.
Lincoln, what do you mean to do ? " " Peg
away, sir, — keep pegging away." And
pegging away liberated millions of bond-
men, and wiped the foul stain of slavery
from America's scutcheon.
" Many strokes, tho' with a little axe,
Hew down and fell the hardest timbered oak."
If we would lay up riches in bags that do
not grow old, and store in the place where
thieves do not break through nor steal, we
must keep at it, not stopping because some
one else says his back aches, so he shall
stop ; perhaps if he heard us say, " My back
aches too, but I shall keep on," he would be
shamed to perseverance.
We shall glean with greater care and in-
dustry if we remember that we must live
for ever on the results of this life. What
we gather in this world will make our heaven
the brighter, or our hell the darker. If men
did but think they gather gold for a crown,
or iron for fetters, they would be more
careful what they pick up. We read that
Ruth " beat out what she had gleaned."
All we have done will be threshed, and
every one shall
"EAT OF THE FRUIT OF THEIR OWN WAY."
" VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF ME."
Luke viii. 46.
T T has been well said, " The fashion of
this world passeth away," for even lan-
guage changes its meaning, and words cease
to have the same significance they once had.
Virtue at one time meant strength. Now
it is used to /denote purity. Jesus meant
that power had gone out from Him. It is
worth while to note that virtue cannot leave
one and pass to another without a loss to
the giver. There can be little doubt that
the sacred body of Jesus had to suffer for
being the medium of healing, and that very
costly was the honour of being the shrine
"VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF ME" 155
It is no wonder that some of the most
effective of preachers have had worn and
wasted bodies, as the tax for being able to
give so much strength to others. Whenever
you listen to a man who lifts you up, and
from whose words you derive energy which
enables you to battle with your difficulties,
make sure that the preacher has to pay for
it, in a wearied and worn body. We read
in one place, "Jesus, therefore, being wearied
with His journey, sat thus on the well." He
appears to have been too fatigued to go
into the town. His disciples were not too
weary, but then, as they came along they
had not to give out power and grace. Per-
haps one reason why Jesus had to toil in
His early life as a carpenter, was to in-
vigorate His frame, and fit it for the three
years of waste which lay between the bap-
tism at Jordan and the cross of Calvary.
Virtue is gone out of me to ONE WHO
FAILED TO GET HELP ELSEWHERE. We are
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told that the poor woman spoken of here had
been ill for twelve long years. During that
time she had gone from one medical man
to another, but without finding relief. She
had "suffered many things of many phy-
sicians, and was nothing bettered, but rather
grew worse." " Had spent all her living
upon physicians, neither could be healed of
any." As a last resource, she came and
tried Jesus. Is she not a picture of many
among us, who try everything but the right
thing, and also go anywhere rather than to
the Saviour ? Have we not many vile im-
postors who rival Christ, and who profess
to give peace to the soul without reference
to the atonement ? What quackery !
Have any of my readers gone to others
rather than to the Great Physician ? Very
likely, for men don't like the terms of Jesus.
He charges nothing, but demands that we
should go nowhere else. And we are so
fond of paying. If only Jesus would let
"VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF ME." 157
men bring ever so little of works, He would
have many more patients. What doctor
have you been to ? There are many of
them. Let me warn you against some of
There is Dr. Merryman. He has a very
large practice. He is the most popular of
all the soul doctors, and has an amazingly
large connection among young people. If
some one goes to him complaining of a sad
heart, he will prescribe a change. " You must
have some light reading. You must not
read the Bible any more, at least, till you
are better. That book is all very well for
old people, and those who are going to die,
but you, my dear sir, will live many years,
and, I trust, happy years, that is, if you will
but take my prescriptions." By-and-by the
patient returns. " No better, doctor, worse if
anything." " Ah ! you must go to the theatre,
attend the opera, and see some comedy. 1 '
" I have tried that, and it did me no good."
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"Well, well, Christmas is coming, and we
must try a little dancing. You want some
gay society, you will soon dance away that
gloom. And in the meantime, be very
careful what place of worship you attend.
Beware of those preachers who will frighten
you by talking of God's anger against sin.
Attend some place where there is respect-
able society, and nice music, and a short
sermon — that will soothe you. You will soon
be better," etc., etc.
There is another of these impudent quacks.
I mean Dr. Devotee, who, like the famous
Mr. Merryman, has a large number of pa-
tients, but they are generally rather older;
indeed, many of them have been under
Merryman till they were tired out ; then
they have gone over to the other side of
the way to try if Devotee could help them.
If you go into his waiting room, you will
see some who have had disappointments,
blighted affections, etc. When you are
" VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF ME." 159
shown into his room, you notice how very
grave he is, — none of the flippancy of the
other, he does not approve of Merryman's
prescriptions. " He did not understand your
case, my dear madam. You need severe
treatment, you must have strong medicine.
I shall prescribe a course of fasting and
prayer. It would have done you good to
have gone with those who have just set off
on a pilgrimage. You are weary of the
frivolity of the world. If you don't get
better soon, you shall enter a religious order,
become a nun, and spend the remainder of
your life in the retreat of innocence and
sanctity, and behind the high wall be shel-
tered from evil."
There is yet another of these medical
gentlemen you must look in upon. This
is where Dr. APATHY lives. He is the
favourite doctor among men of business and
commerce. They will tell you, "Merryman
is all very well for the youngsters, and
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Devotee suits the women, but for a sensible
practical man, commend me to Apathy.
Bless you, what I suffered before I went to
him ! I could not sleep at nights for think-
ing I might lose my soul. Really business
began to suffer ; so I went to him, and he
soon put me to rights. When I told him
my symptoms, he said, 'I understand you,
my dear fellow, you need a sedative. Stick
to your newspaper, and give up all that
nonsense about family prayer. Have a
game of whist in the evening, and an extra
glass of grog. Try to sleep as much as you
can during the sermon, and if you cannot
manage that, try to arrange your next day's
business, so that after that you can dine and
sleep away Sunday.' And what has been
the result ? Why, I have never any of those
queer feelings about death and the judgment
day. I am all right."
Do you know, dear reader, any of these
men? You will not get a cure with them;
"VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF ME." 161
they will deceive you, take your money, and
then desert you at the last. If you have
been vainly trying to get a cure at the
wrong place, come to Jesus, and He will
" None but Jesus
Can do wretched sinners good."
Virtue has gone out of me to ONE WHO
HAS OVERCOME GREAT DIFFICULTIES.
This poor woman must have found it very
difficult to come to Christ, for at least two
reasons. She was ceremoniously unclean.
What ! go to Jesus, the great Prophet, when
I am not fit to touch any one ? Yes, I will
go to Him, and try His skill, and see if He
will reject me ? Does the thought of your
sins scare you from Jesus ? The more unfit
for heaven, the greater the reason for coming
to Christ. The worse you are, the more
welcome to Jesus. Don't lose time trying
to cure yourself, or to mitigate the symptoms.
Come away to Jesus at once. If you were
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seized with cholera, and knew of some doctor
who had never lost a cholera patient, you
would not wait till the symptoms were a
little less violent. How well known, but
never worn out, are the lines of the hymn, —
"If you tarry till you're better
You will never come at all."
Don't lose any more time ; you have lost
enough already, as this poor woman seems
to have done. She had delayed until it was
almost too late. She came behind Him. If
she had waited much longer she would have
died as she was. Come behind. " Better
late than never."
There was the difficulty of the crowd.
The people thronged Him; and no wonder,
for He was on His way to heal the ruler's
daughter. The crowd was between her and
the Lord. Aye, and it is so yet. Very often
we find the friends and admirers of Christ
keeping away some who seek His face. Let
none of us make that blunder. Do not stand
" VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF AIE» 163
between the sinner and the Saviour. Is not
this the sin of priestcraft ? Do not many,
well-meaning men, it may be, hide Christ by
their ceremonies ? Is not this the sin of a
narrow theology? — those who are delighted
to speak of the "little flock." Have not
some preachers sinned against the penitent,
if not against Christ, by giving eloquence
instead of gospel ?
But the woman persevered. She could not
get at Jesus to tell Him all she could have
said ; but she touched Him, and so we find
Him saying, " Virtue is gone out of me."
Does the soul sincerely seeking Jesus ever
fail ? It is our hope for those devout ones
who sit under a Christless ministry, and who
cannot come near, yet touch as it were the
hem of the garment. It is yet true that as
many as touched were made whole of what-
ever disease they had.
Virtue has gone out of me to ONE WHO
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As the poor woman thought of the crowd,
she felt she had not the strength to force
her way ; but she said, " If I may but touch."
This was not the first time a touch had been
mighty. She had heard of it, and believed,
and argued, " Why should He not heal me
as well as they ? " Is there, among the
readers of this book, one who is in distress
about his soul ? say, Why should I not be
saved ? God does not show partiality. He
forgives all who rest on the atonement. Put
down this book, dear reader, and kneel down,
and look away to Jesus. Exercise faith in
Jesus just this moment. I should like some
soul to be made happy in Jesus while reading
this. Why should you not be saved ? Did
not Jesus 'suffer in your stead? Have not
your sins been punished ? Then rest upon
the fact that Christ is your Substitute, and
rejoice in Him who died to redeem you.
Don't talk of setting aside a future time for
fasting and prayer. Come to Jesus, just now.
" VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF ME." 165
Do not wait till you have altered this, or
improved that, all that can be done after-
wards. If this poor woman had a part
of a bottle of medicine left in the house,
she did not say, I will go home and
finish the bottle, and then come to Jesus.
She did better ; she said, " If I may but
touch His clothes, I shall be made
Virtue is gone out of me to one WHO
MUST CONFESS THE TRUTH.
Jesus did not allow the woman to keep
her secret. Doubtless, as soon as she found
the cure, her heart would be filled with love
to Him who had made her whole ; but, poor
timid thing, she would fain have gone home,
and told nobody in the crowd. Who touched
me ? Master, why do you ask ? many an one
in the crowd is touching Thee. Who does
not touch Thee ? so said the disciples.
"Virtue is gone out of me." He looked
about, and caught the woman's eye, who now
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had strength to press through the multitude
and fall down close to His feet, and tell Him
all the truth.
Timid disciple, have you derived benefit
from Jesus, and yet have not owned to it ?
Secret lover of Jesus, take up the cross, tell
the story of thy deliverance. It will be all
the better for thee. If Jesus had allowed
the woman to have returned home, she would
have been the loser. She might have doubted
if the cure was permanent ; but now that she
has heard Him say, " Daughter, be of good
comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole,"
she can rejoice in the knowledge of a com-
plete deliverance. And if you want assur-
ance, confess what you feel of the grace of
God. Let the world hear you tell the truth,
and you shall hear Him say, " Be of good
One other word before you shut the book.
Be not satisfied to be among the crowd that
press round Jesus and touch Him, without
" VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF ME." 167
being any the better for it. God forbid that
you should be in the crowd, and yet that con-
cerning you He should not say, —
"Virtue is gone out of me!"
STONING THE GODS.
" Once was I stoned.'"— Acts xiv. ; 2 Cor. xi. 25.
r I ''HAT is no ordinary heap of stones.
See, there is blood on the sharp-
edged ones, and skin, and hair! And no
common blood. It is the blood of one
of earth's best sons. Whose blood is it ?
The blood of Paul, Christ's missionary. We
saw another heap twelve years ago, on
which was the blood of Stephen. Only a
dozen years between the man who held
the clothes of Stephen's murderers, and
the martyr Paul, for he was a martyr then
in intention, and for anything we know
he literally died for the truth. For he
tells us, "Whether in the body or out of
STONING THE GODS. 169
the body I cannot tell." Persecutors may-
become helpers, and he who, wolf like,
made havoc among the flock of Christ,
may lay down his life for the sheep. This
book may fall into the hands of some foe
of Jesus and the gospel. You, my friend,
may yet become one of the advocates of
the truth you hate so much. Yes, the
pirate may yet carry lawful cargo. Do
you wish it were so? Then haul down
your ensign and run up the colours of
God the King, the white flag and red cross.
Cease to do evil, learn to do well. Cast
yourself on the mercy of God, and instead
of execution for rebellion and piracy, you
shall be the commander of your own vessel,
and be used to run emigrants over to the
land of holiness and beauty, where He
waits to house them for ever.
" Sermons in stones." Yes, there are many
homilies in such a blood-stained stone-heap
as this, in every pebble and boulder. As we
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turn them over, they say, However good
A MAN IS HIS MISTAKES WILL INJURE
HIM. Being godly does not insure infallibi-
lity. Paul made several mistakes in his life,
and there seems to have been one here. It
is not very easy to account for the sudden
revulsion of feeling ; the people at first
thought they were the gods come down in
the likeness of men. Afterward, Paul was
stoned by the same people. Some light is
incidentally here thrown on the personal
appearance of these heroic men. Barnabas
was called Jupiter, so we conclude he was
a massive, fine-looking man, while Paul was
Mercury, whom we know from the ancient
statues of that god was always represented
as a small-limbed, slightly-built' man.
While we may not be able altogether to
account for the sudden change in the feel-
ings of the people towards these two men,
we may see that there need have been no
mistaking them for gods. Paul did not use
STONING THE GODS. 171
the common formula when he healed the
cripple. It was not "In the name of Jesus
of Nazareth, rise up and walk," but, " Stand
upright on thy feet ! " We quite think that
Paul meant no harm, but it was misleading
to the poor ignorant heathen, and he had
to smart for it. How much better if the
bystanders had been led to ask, Who is
the god they invoked ? Who is this Jesus
of Nazareth ? It is a new name to us :
who is it ? Let not your good be evil
spoken of. Avoid the appearance of evil.
Oh, if we could be spared the mistakes of
good men ! Because punishment and suffer-
ing come to the good if they blunder. Here
is a man who is anxious to give money, and
so sees what he thinks is a good thing, and
recklessly ventures more than he can afford,
and so you have " another of these Chris-
tians sold up ! " The father of a family,
so much engaged in church work that he
cannot be ever at home, and so the boys
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run wild. "What plagues they are! I do
believe good men's children are the worst
of all," the neighbours say. Zeal runs away
with another, and without thinking of health,
he is worn out. If men forget they are
human, the kind of work they do won't
prevent their wearing out, and so there is a
gap in the ranks before the time. Perhaps,
if the truth was told, many a one has been
martyred because he could not be quiet,
and it may be some of my readers are
suffering, not for conscience' sake, but for
the want of common sense !
But do not these stones teach us THE
WAY THE WORLD USES ITS BENEFACTORS ?
Stone the man who healed the cripple !
That is the way we always do. We do
not deny that the cripple has been healed,
but stone him. What business has he to
do anything new ? Does not the world
often starve its geniuses ? Who expects
wealth for an inventor ? You must be con-
STONING THE GODS. 173
tent to be the ladder up which other people
rise in the world, if you have seen further
than anyone else, and are bringing out
something fresh. The history of poets and
painters tells us of hunger and nakedness.
Some of the books that live were written
in naked garrets, and others in prison cells.
Livingstone has done more to make Eng-
land famous than most men, and yet he
was more than poor, and the expedition
that found him was sent out by America.
It was the star and stripes that mingled
with the Union Jack at Ugiji. Do not com-
plain, my friend, if the world hate you. Don't
expect gratitude if you are doing good.
You will be better off than God if you get
thanks for kindness. Why should we be sur-
prised ? Look at the cross. Who hangs
between the malefactors? What crime has
He done? What are the people crucifying
Him for ? Feeding the hungry ? Opening
the eyes of the blind ? Making lame men
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independent of crutches ? Raising the dead ?
What, has He done all this ? Has He always
spoken kindly to the erring, and helped
many to be good, — then crucify Him ? Away
with Him ; He is not fit to live ! The ser-
vant is not above his Lord. If the Master
went this way, why should not the servant ?
Bishop Hall once said, " Let who will hope
to walk on roses and violets to the glory of
heaven ; O Saviour, let me trace Thee by
the track of Thy blood ; and by Thy red
steps follow Thee to Thine eternal rest and
happiness ! "
There are many texts in this stone-heap.
Here is one. BIGOTRY BRUTALIZES IG-
NORANCE. "Certain Jews persuaded the
people." You have the history of perse-
cution epitomized in that nineteenth verse.
Bigotry makes a tool of ignorance. The
priests have pulled the strings before to-day,
and are trying to get hold of them now.
Let us beware of ignorance. Education
STONING THE GODS. 175
has always been the foe of priestcraft. But
let us not content ourselves with our chil-
dren learning everything but the Word of
God. It is no good sign that doctrinal
preaching is on the decrease, that, in fact,
the people do not like to be instructed,
which means they are making themselves
fit tools for the priest. Popery has no
chance so long as the Bible is understood
by the people ; but let us cease to learn the
truth, and no longer be able "to give an
answer to every man that asketh you a
reason of the hope that is in you," and wc
shall become puppets for priestcraft.
If you are not ignorant, and so cannot
become brutal, do not be a bigot. Do not
fear new ideas. It is true they did not
occur to you, but let another man explore
the realms of thought, if you do not care
to leave your quiet home. There will be
quite enough to throw stones at the man
with a new idea without your throwing one.
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If a man loves God, he has been promised
" a crown of life," and you will not like,
should you see him crowned, to think of the
time when you threw a stone at his head !
Religion will not save you from bigotry;
there are no bigots like religious ones.
What hard names are used by very religious
men when they speak of some whom they
think not so liberal as themselves, all because
they say God will punish sin eternally. Let
us learn to tolerate the man who loves God,
seeing that we shall have to live with him for
ever. Whatever liberty we claim for our-
selves, give another man the same, and let
not London see what Lystra saw, — men who
worship Jehovah stir up others to injure a
man who prays to the same God as them-
But all the stones are not bloody. Does
not that teach, PERSECUTION IS LIMITED IN
ITS RESULTS ? " Once was I stoned." Paul
lived twenty years after this, but never was
STONING THE GODS. v/7
stoned again. The enemy had tried to do
it before, but was not able. "Once was /
stoned," not Barnabas. God did not put
him to the trial. Not the other disciples,
only Paul. I was stoned, not killed ; at
least, though left for dead, I rose up and
came into the city. It may be that dark
days are coming for the Church of God
It may be that many may have to suffer,
but the foes of God cannot slay Him. They
may beat out our brains, but they cannot
kill the truth.
Paul did not give up the work to which
he was called because he had to suffer. No,
brave little .man, we see him just as the
disciples stood around him, weeping over
his poor body, and preparing to bury it;
he opens his eyes, and, though weak and
sore, stands up and comes into Lystra
again, and " preached the gospel to that
city." Here was good for evil. Mark how
the Christian hero makes his very sufferings
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useful, telling the Church at Lystra, and
every scar illustrated the truth that " we
must through much tribulation enter into
the kingdom of God." This was not the
last time he visited the place ; once more
he went, and found fruit remaining, and be-
came acquainted with his son in the gospel,
Timothy. How true it is that the blood of
the martyr is the seed of the church. Such
men as the friend and comforter of Paul, as
Timothy was, are cheap at such a price.
Let us trust our God, even when we are
hurt in doing good ; out of our wounds there
may flow that which shall heal many. 'Tis
still true what Herbert sang, — »
" Tempests are calm to Thee, they know Thy hand,
And hold it fast, as children do their father's,
Which cry and follow."
THE HTSTORY OF A LETTER.
" And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the
messengers, and read it : and Hezekiah went tip
into the house of the Lo?~d, and spread it before the
Lord." — 2 Kings xix. 14.
T T OW easy to say, " the letter ; " and yet,
how much the words may mean! The
postman, as he goes his rounds, would be-
come the most melancholy of men if he
thought much upon the budget he carries.
To some houses joy, to others misery, — nay,
to the same house joy treads on the heels
of sorrow, or vice versa. We don't know
what to-morrow may bring us ; the post-
man's knock may be the knell of doom or
the signal for peals of joyous laughter.
What a letter was that which Hezekiah
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received ! In form it would be very different
to our ideas of a letter. The Assyrians did
not use paper, or even skins, but did their
writing on clay. You may see, in the British
Museum, a conveyance of land, written, not
on parchment, but on clay, and then baked
hard. So it is very likely that the letter
was a tablet of terra cotta. It has been
thought by some that Rabshakeh was the
writer of these railing letters. This renegade
Jew, like most apostates, gloried in his
shame. He was a master of coarse invec-
tive, and could say things never to be for-
gotten. For instance, when he sneered at
Hezekiah for depending upon Egypt, and
compared that nation to one of the papyrus
reeds which grow on the banks of the Nile,
— to lean upon it was to break it, and
it have pierce the hand. In the letter, he
told the king of Israel that he would share
the fate of the other nations whom Sen-
nacherib had destroyed, and told him to
THE HISTORY OF A LETTER. 181
note that the gods of those nations had not
delivered them ; and even goes to the length
of suggesting that Jehovah was cheating the
pious king, when encouraging him to believe
that He was greater than Assyria. The
letter winds up by asking Hezekiah to think
what had become of other crowned heads,
and suggesting that soon he would join the
company of those who had been degraded
This was trouble, but it was trouble that
might have been prevented. Hezekiah ought
never to have paid tribute to Sennacherib.
When first the demand was made, he should
have called on the name of the Lord. In
2 Kings xviii. we read that Hezekiah prayed
to be delivered : but he prayed to the king
of Assyria. To stave off the threatened
destruction, he had to cut off the gold from
the doors of the temple. It was all lost.
The greedy monarch was not to be thus
satisfied ; he meant having all the wealth that
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Solomon had accumulated. Let us learn to
never submit to the claims of sin. We can
never satisfy it. Much will have more. Sin,
like Sennacherib, will take all you will give,
and then come for more, and when it has got
all it will come for you. The devil has no
right to a penny of our money, or a moment
of our time. If we could have in the trea-
sury of the Lord the tribute good people are
paying to Satan, we should be able to carry
on much of the Lord's work that languishes
for funds. Young men and women, let me
say to you, Never give way to the claims of
sin. If you submit once, you will have to
submit again, until hell will talk of "vested
interests" in your time and money!
What did Hezekiah do with the
LETTER ? He did not send a hasty answer.
Many a quarrel might have been prevented if
men would spread disagreeable letters before
the Lord. Many a family feud would never
have been brought about but for the want
THE HISTORY OF A LETTER. 183
of this. If you get letters that give you
pain, before you pen a reply send a message
to God, and He will teach you to indite
what may turn away wrath.
He did not send to Egypt ; he was cured
of that now. If some one who reads this is
in trouble, let me counsel you to remember
what is a command as well as a promise,
" Call upon me in the day of trouble." Far
too many of us treat God as though He had
no existence. We try everybody else before
going to the Lord. We can quack with our
small ailments, but when we feel in danger
we call in the men of skill, forgetting that
the cold may be the prelude to a fever, and
that little trials are sometimes opening the
way for larger ones. Hezekiah did now
what he ought to have done at the first.
What a great deal of trouble he might have
saved himself if, at the first appearance of
the Assyrian army, he had gone to the house
of the Lord to pray : then he would have
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been saved the necessity of going there to
cut off the gold from the doors. The right
thing is always best, and in the long run
" Went up into the house of the Lord."
Where was he so likely to find God as in
His house ? The writer knew a pious and
intelligent widow who had a great deal of
trial, and who assured him that she was
never in perplexity but she was sure to be
guided to the right conclusion as she sat in
chapel. Something either in the sermon, or
lesson, or prayer, or hymn would tell her what
" In every new distress
Will to His house repair ;
Will think upon His wondrous grace,
And seek deliverance there."
Hezekiah did not hear God reproach him
for going elsewhere first. There is much
force in the promise, " If any of you lack
wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to
THE HISTORY OF A LETTER. 185
all men liberally and upbraideth not" Per-
haps you have tried everybody else, and are
almost ashamed to go to God now. Do not
fear but He will treat you as kindly as He
Have you noticed the prayer of the king,
how he speaks of God as dwelling between
the cherubim ? Maybe he had heard how
Sennacherib sat on his throne between
winged bulls and lions ; but he had heard
Isaiah tell of seeing the Lord surrounded by
winged intelligences. The great stone images
which stood on either side of the throne
of Assyria were enough to terrify those who
stood before the king: but they could not
move. God had only to speak to His
winged messenger, and the angel was gone
to crush the foes of Jehovah and His
It is a model prayer ; not like many, which
must try the patience of God, going all
round the world, instead of fastening upon
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the thing needed, and asking for that. If
our prayers were more like telegrams we
should have speedier answers. One of the
best prayers the writer ever heard of was
put up by a man who had been awakened
at some special service ; it was in these
words : " Lord, save me from the public
house, for it has been my ruin ! " The
prayer of the pious king appealed to God
for the sake of His honour — " that all the
kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou
art the Lord God." How the Almighty is
touched by an appeal of this sort. If we
thought more of God's honour in our prayers,
we should be more often answered. It is
said of Sammy Hick that on one occasion
he had been led to pray in the congregation
for rain, and after he left the chapel, and had
reached the house, he seemed very uneasy,
and kept going to the door and looking
out. Some one asked him what was the
matter ? " Didn't thou hear me pray for
THE HISTORY OF A LETTER. 187
rain ? What will these infidels say if they
know that I prayed for it and God didn't
send it ? " Such jealousy for God was not
and cannot ever be in vain.
Was the letter ever answered ? Yes,
for Jehovah answered it Himself. He did
not trouble Hezekiah to do it ; and the
answer is worthy of the Lord. How he re-
proves the pride and annoyance of the king
of Assyria — "Whom hast thou reproached
and blasphemed ? " In Isaiah x. we find
other allusions to the threat of Sermacherib ;
the prophet spoke the feeling of God, and
encouraged the fainting hearts of the people
of God. But the answer never was sent to
the Assyrian. God did not condescend to
reply to him personally. He may have
thought that His message had so dismayed
Hezekiah that in a very short time there
would be an ambassage desiring peace, and
offering abject submission. We know what
the result was, and how suddenly the bolt
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of vengeance struck down the proud blas-
phemer. Is it not the same to-day ? Are
not many of those who lift themselves up
against the Lord doomed in the same way ?
God does not condescend to send an answer
to their proud boastings, but He has replied,
and could they but know what He has
spoken, they would be in abject terror.
While nothing appears to have been said
to the foe, the friends of Jehovah were
much comforted by the reply to the letter.
Jerusalem is represented as a Jewish maiden,
laughing Assyria to scorn. Yes, when God
laughs we may. It would help us more if
we cultivated sacred mirth. Why should
the enemy be the only one to smile ? " He
laughs best who laughs last," says the old
proverb, but he who knows that he will
laugh last, should laugh all the way through.
God will win the day; then let none of us
who are on His side whine and cry, but
rejoice in the Lord, and in merriment sing
THE HISTORY OF A LETTER. 189
psalms. The twenty-eighth verse in this chap-
ter used to be a puzzle to students of the
Bible, but since the marbles have been dug
up, we learn from them that it was the
custom of the wicked kings of Assyria to
do to men after this cruel fashion. One of
the sculptures which portray the history of
Assyria shows three poor captives brought
into the presence of the king with a cord
through their lips and nose ! So, " I will
put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in
thy lips, and turn thee back." Are any of
my readers sorely tempted of the evil one?
Does he threaten to swallow you up? Laugh
at him, and tell him that Jehovah can turn
him back as easily as He did Sennacherib.
There is a POSTSCRIPT TO GOD'S ANSWER
(see verse 35). — " It came to pass that night —
they were all dead corpses " ! Fancy if you
saw in the newspaper to-morrow, " Sudden
death of 185,000 soldiers!" What a stir it
would make ! What a sight the camp must
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have been next morning. There has been
much discussion as to how it happened.
There is no mention of it in the Assyrian
record. They were ready enough to boast,
but when Sennacherib crept back to his
palace, he did not instruct the historian to
chronicle his disgrace. Herodotus tells us
that the Egyptians, against whom Sennacherib
was then at war, ascribed the destruction of
their foes to the power of their gods. There
has been considerable discussion amongst the
learned as to the cause of the destruction of
so large an army, and it is generally under-
stood now to have been the simoon. Cambyses ;
king of the Medes, lost 50,000 men by one of
these dreadful winds. But whether the wind
was the messenger, or whether an angel had
the wind in his power, it matters not ; we read
of " stormy wind fulfilling His word." God
willed it, and nature hasted to do His
Sennacherib does not appear to have been
THE HISTORY OF A LETTER. 191
with the main army, and so escaped for the
time ; but vengeance followed him home. Let
us pause and contrast the two kings mentioned
in this story, and we shall see the difference
between the friends and foes of God. Look
at Hezekiah. Though he made mistakes, he
was a sincere, good man ; he meant right,
and so in the day of distress could seek the
Lord. Look at him in the house of God.
He is in great trouble; He bows before the
Lord. See, some one is coming! it is the
prophet. What is the message ? Will God
reproach me for not coming before ? Will
He refuse now to help us ? Listen, thus
saith the Lord. "That which thou hast
prayed to me against Sennacherib king of
Assyria I have heard." Now look at the
enemy of God when he was in trouble. He,
too, is in trouble, he has not prospered, and
so will seek the help of his god. Tradition
says that he intended to offer up two of his
sons as human sacrifices. He is in the house
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of his god, seeking aid, when a step is
heard : how quietly the men walk ; there
are two of them ; they steal behind the
worshipping monarch, they pierce him with
their knives ; and, as he looks upon them
with his dying gaze, he sees that those he
intended to offer to his god have been his
death! "The light of the righteous rejoiceth,
but the lamp of the wicked shall be put
WORKING FOR THE KING.
" With the king for his work.'''' — i Chron. iv. 23.
\ \ J HAT a chapter this is for hard names !
A preacher looking for a text here
would feel like a lad seeking blackberries
in a thorn hedge ; nearly every verse bristles
with words difficult to pronounce ; yet here
and there we have a sweet verse or two, with
some beautiful lesson for the people of God.
JLet not our young readers hesitate about
searching these dry chapters which seem but
a register of names, for now and then they
will come upon some lovely jewel imbedded
in the shale of genealogy that will well pay
them for their toil.
For instance, in the ninth and tenth verses,
we have the story of Jabez, or, to put his
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name into English, Sorrowful. It was a
strange name, but his mother was determined
to perpetuate the memory of some grief she
had when the lad was born, — something that
touched more nearly than the joy of her
son's birth. It may be that there was war
at the time, and that her husband was killed,
or the house burned, so the child was to be
the remembrancer of evil days. But of all
her children, none gave her so much pleasure,
and we can fancy how the neighbours would
praise Sorrowful when he began to walk, and
talk of his sweet smile. Ah, there is none
like Sorrowful ! By-and-bye he came to
manhood, and then, when farmers had to
fight amidst their grain, and drive back the
foe from the harvest-field, none were so
brave as the child of woe, and we can fancy
the women saying to his mother, " Sorrowful
has done the best of all." Would not his
mother wish she had given him some other
name? And shall it not be so with our
WORKING FOR THE KING. 195
sorrows ? As they work out some exceed-
ing weight of glory, shall we not sing the
sweetest about the very things which on
earth made us to shed the most tears ?
Sorrowful is most honourable!
Again, in the eighteenth verse we read of
a woman who is called Bithiah ; very little
is said of her, but her name is most signi-
ficant. She was the child of Pharaoh. Which
Pharaoh ? Was she the daughter of the
man who opposed the God of Israel ? Did
the actions of the illustrious man whom she
had saved from the river lead her to look at
her own position and choose like Moses to
suffer affliction with the people of God ? Of
that we are not sure, but of this we are
certain, that a daughter of Pharaoh called
herself " daughter of Jehovah," for that is
the meaning of Bithiah ; suggesting that we
should never think any family hopeless, for
God gets Himself honour in various ways,
and sometimes by saving some one whose
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name seems a curse. The writer thought so
the other day when he saw advertised, " Why
am I a Christian ? " by W. Bradlaugh.
Towards the end of the chapter, we read
of some whose prosperity was their ruin.
" Fat pasture and good " was their lot, but
there were those who were on the look out
for some place to settle, so seeing this
desirable pasture they slew the shepherds
who had had it in possession for so long ;
teaching us that the more we have the more
likely we are to be robbed, and that what
makes our lot desirable may awaken envy
and covetousness in others, and even riches
may bring destruction.
The twenty-third verse suggests ideas
worth consideration. "These were the pot-
ters, and those that dwelt among plants and
hedges: there they dwelt with the king for
his work." Do you note how WORK LINKS
MEN TO KINGS, for you have potters,
gardeners, and hedgers mixed up with the
WORKING FOR THE KING. 197
king. There are many wrong ideas in the
world about labour. It would not be right,
perhaps, but my pen had almost written,
Work is the only respectable thing. And
yet not a few people try to bring up their
children to do without, and you will see
a man toil early and late to make money,
getting no enjoyment out of it for himself,
for he pinches himself to save; and when
you get at the reason, it is that he may
make his son a gentleman, which means,
someone who can live without work. This
is not according to the Divine idea, for
we find Jesus saying, "My Father worketh
hitherto, and I work." Is not the Creator
ever designing some new form of beauty,
and giving delight to the children of men
by some new manifestation of Divine taste
and industry? It is not for nothing that
Christ, the wisdom of God, toiled at the
carpenter's bench, and was as much the
Son of God when He stood up to His ankles
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in shavings, as when He walked the seas.
The apostles were men whose physical
power had been developed by labour, and
were used to toil before they began to
preach. Indeed, if you take out of the Bible
all the stories of men who worked for their
living, you will rob it of its greatest beauty,
and do us a terrible wrong.
If some boy does me the honour to read
this, let me tell him that the producers are
the wealth of a nation. The men and
women who work, whether with brain or hand,
or both, are the people who save the nation
from ruin. It matters not whether you paint
a picture, or beat out a horse shoe : labour
is wealth, and no shower fertilizes the earth
like the sweat of honest toilers. Make
something, then ; ideas or bricks, it matters
not, only let there be something in existence
at night that was not in the morning. That
which makes Longfellow's village blacksmith
worth singing about is : —
WORKING FOR THE KING. tCj9
" Each morning sees some task begun,
Each evening sees it close ;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose."
Is it not so in Christian life and expe-
rience? What is a man's religion worth if
it does not teach him to labour? Are we
not to work out our salvation, and that for
the best of reasons, "It is God that worketh
in us"? The sunshine and rain are useless
to the fields that have not been tilled. He
who has no plough needs not to trouble to
sharpen his scythe. Bibles and sermons to
the idle are not, cannot be appreciated, and
Sabbaths are but weariness to the man who
does no kind of Christian work. Do not
mistake yourself for a Christian because
you like some popular preacher : it is on
the same principle that wasps like honey,
but they will starve rather than make it ;
and some of these sermon-hunters come to
steal what they could not earn.
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You would not have heard of these men
if they had not worked. Their toil has
bound up their life with the king's life.
Why should you not act so that the story
of God cannot be fully told without your
name being mentioned ? Have you been
at ease in Zion ? then rouse yourself. Oh,
you who are on strike, think what you are
losing, and what, perhaps, is worse, how
much you are causing the King to lose!
He is taking on fresh hands to-day, and
He will not turn the old hands back if
only He sees that you mean work.
There is another idea which grows out of
this, and that is, kings need different
kinds OF WORKERS. If the monarch
wanted a flower, he must have a gardener
to grow it ; if he broke a dish, he could not
make another. God needs us, not that He
could not have done without us, but He
has elected to win the world by human in-
strumentality, and, let it be said with rever-
WORKING FOR THE KING. 201
ence, the interests of God are very greatly-
bound up with the progress of humanity.
If His Church is indolent, His cause suffers.
If the Church is on the alert, then His
interests are cared for. There is a sense
in which God needs us, and cannot carry
out His plans without us. It is easy to see
that He will not convert the world without
the Church's co-operation.
Both gardeners and potters are needed
by the king ; there is great variety in the
kinds of work, so that various types of skill
are necessary. Whatever your talent, there
is room for you. Not only genius, but
dogged drudgery. We want the artist to
paint the picture, and the workman to frame
it ; the author to write the book, and the
printer to give it to the world. Perhaps
you would rather be a gardener than a
potter. It is cleaner. Yes, it is, but the
potter has not the same worry and anxiety
the gardener has. The artizan knows when
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his work is done for the day ; the clay
will be in the morning where he left it last
night; but the flower, will that be there?
Has not the wind changed ? The breeze
that has come over the barren steppes of
Tartary carries death to fragile beauty, and
the gardener wakes, while the potter rests,
for what is the east wind to him ? Frost,
blight, worms, drought — these cannot hurt
clay, but they ruin flowers ; and so, in pro-
portion to the beauty of the material, must
be the anxiety of the worker. Do I hear
some one say, When I was taken into the
garden, I had hoped to have worked amongst
the flowers, but I have been set to plant
hedges and keep them in order? Well, do
you not see that your work is of untold
value to the man whose place is to produce
flowers for the King's table ? You are grow-
ing a leafy wall, that shall barricade those
things of beauty, and screen them from the
breath of the destroyer. Only a mother;
WORKING FOR THE KING. 203
nothing to do for God but to nurse children.
Ah, but if you do it well, shall not your boy
sing in heaven how his mother's life shielded
him from harm and kept his soul alive ?
Are you, my reader, one of those spoken
of as " these are the potters " ? Is yours the
lowly task to sit at the wheel, or to stand
amid the soot of the baking clay ? Dirty,
grimy work, you say. Yes, it is, but the
gardener is dependent upon you. Does he
want to send in a choice rose he has just
cut? Does he wish his rose to stand on
the King's table ? then he must have your
help. He must ask for one of your vases.
How true it is that no one man can do all
that needs to be done, even with his own
gifts. The man of scholarly mind, who is
able to translate from the original, is not
always gifted with the power of speech, and
may not be as able to catch the ear of the
multitude as some unlettered, but eloquent
enthusiast. Many a warrior, O potter, shall
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drink out of thy clay pitcher, and, refreshed,
shall go back to the field to win new honours
for his sovereign. The treasure, so heavenly
in its origin, is kept in " earthen vessels."
The gardener must come to thee for pitchers
to water his plants. It may not be known
out of what pitcher the water came which
saved the plant in the days of drought.
There was a time when that plant of renown
men call John Bunyan was in peril. You
remember when he had given up blasphemy,
and had become a Pharisee, instead of the
tap-room he frequented churches, and was
well-nigh eaten up with spiritual pride. To
see him come out of church, puffed up with
the thought of his goodness, evidently feel-
ing that he was an apprentice-angel, and soon
to be out of his time! the devil was surer
of him than when his mouth was full of
filthy blasphemies. But one day, as he came
down Bedford streets, with his soldering-iron,
he overheard some godly women speaking
WORKING FOR THE KING. 205
of grace in the heart. He had thought of
taking part, but when he heard them speak
of human righteousness as filthy rags, he
felt they spake an unknown tongue. But
God's grace came to him that day. We have
all enjoyed the perfume of the heavenly
plant, but no one knows the names of the
three .vomen who were but pitchers from
the King's potteries; the water they held,
though, was that of life, and brought the
precious gift to Bunyan !
TJiere they dwelt zvith the king. — Willing
to stay in His service all " the days of their
appointed time." Let us be willing to stay.
Heaven will keep. Some day we shall go
to dwell with the King in another sense. As
one looks round the workshops and gardens
of the king, we miss some who were wont to
toil there. They are gone. Yes, gone from
the soot of the pottery, and the burning heat
of the garden, to dwell "in quietness and
assurance for ever."
ROPES AND RAGS.
/~\NE of the things one learns by living
^~~ J ^ in London is, that all the grand things
are not in the broad streets. Down some
of the narrow and unfrequented paths we
now and then drop upon a bit of quaint
beauty, in the way of architecture or window
gardening ; or, it may be, that in some back
street we pass an old-fashioned shop window,
in which are treasures of art and skill that
tempt one to break the tenth command-
ment. And, more or less so, it is the same
with the highways and byways of Holy
Scripture. Jeremiah will never be the popu-
lar prophet that Isaiah is; he is not read
ROPES AND RAGS. 207
with the same delight and frequency; yet
there are passages of wondrous beauty in
his prophecy, and now and then scenes of
great dramatic power, such as this chapter
The story is very remarkable. It is at
a time of great terror. The din of war is
at the gates of Jerusalem. The proud king
of Babylon, who goes forth from conquering
to conquer, and to whom battle and victory
are synonymous terms, is marching against
the doomed city. Jeremiah has all along
testified that the only safety is in submission,
and counsels his audiences to resist no
longer. The war party are very angry at
this, and accuse the good man of making
the soldiers weak by his words. Eventually,
they prevail upon the king to have him cast
into the dungeon of Malchiah. "The good
old times" must have been hard on men
who had to go to prison, if this dungeon
was at all typical. It seems to have been
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more like a very deep cesspool than a cell.
Jeremiah was lowered into it, and left there
to perish, feeling, doubtless, that he was in
a living grave.
Evil was not allowed to have all its own
way. There was, at the time we speak of,
a native of Africa, who was one of the
king's chamberlains, Ebedmelech by name.
He, though a man of timid disposition, was
very kindly disposed towards the prophet,
and having the entre to the king, hastened
to intercede for the poor prisoner. Zedekiah,
who appears to have been about as steadfast
as a weathercock, listened to the plea of
his servant, and allowed him to have his
own way, charging him to take thirty soldiers
with him, and save Jeremiah from his fate.
This was clone without delay, the eunuch
tiki ii.- the precaution to find what might
pad the ropes and prevent the flesh of the
sufferer being chafed by them, while he was
lifted out of the dungeon. For this kind
ROPES AND RAGS. 209
action the prophet was charged with a
message to the eunuch, promising him
deliverance in the day when the city was
carried by storm.
The story is an illustration of the way
God saves men. Jeremiah's danger and
deliverance were very real. In that dungeon
he is, indeed, in "an horrible pit." There
was no hope of escape. No light, no firm
standing, every prospect of death, and in
no long time either. If not eaten by rats,
or suffocated, hunger would kill him. Would
to God that we preachers could see the
real danger to which sinners are exposed !
Their evil practices are sure to be their
destruction, and it may be under very
frightful circumstances. There is a realness.
about the wages of sin that very few of us
feel as we ought, or we should have less
lethargy in the pulpit, and more earnestness
in our intercourse with those who, because
of their unbelief, are under sentence. This
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world, to many around us, is but a con-
demned cell, from which there is no escape,
until the executioner, Death, pinions his
victim, and leads him forth to be destroyed,
and that without remedy.
On the other hand, Jeremiah was de-
livered, brought up out of the miry clay.
But the prophet's salvation was only a feeble
picture of what God's grace does for those
who take hold on Jesus. He remained in
the courts of the prison. "Whom the Son
makes free are free indeed." We who rest
in Jesus may walk about the courts of the
"He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free."
In the third chapter of Lamentations we
have the prayer of the poor prisoner when
in such peril.
" Mine enemies chased me sore,
Like a bird without cause ;
ROPES AND RAGS. ±i\
They have cut off my life in the dungeon,
And cast a stone upon me ;
Waters flowed over my head ;
Then I said, I am cut off.
I called upon Thy name, O Lord,
Out of the low dungeon ;
Thou hast heard my voice.
Hide not Thine ear at my breathing, at my cry ;
Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon
Thou saidst, Fear not !
O Lord, Thou hast pleaded the cause of my soul,
Thou hast redeemed my life."
From this we gather that God revealed
Himself in some way, and assured His
servant that he should be delivered. Is
there some one reading these pages who is
afraid of the consequences of his sins ? The
writer would recommend that he cry ear-
nestly to God. Be not satisfied with some
mere form of prayer, but cry aloud to the
God of your salvation. He never yet turned
back the cry of an earnest soul, and He.
will assuredly send help from His sanctuary
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Mark you, HELP ALWAYS COMES FROM
ABOVE. Jeremiah found it so. It was use-
less to try to climb out of the dungeon, it
was only to fall deeper into the mire.
"Salvation is of the Lord." You cannot
save yourself. The effort will only exhaust
you. Cry unto the Lord. Say, "O Lord,
deliver my soul." He is sure to hear your
cry. Ebedmelech is only a very poor picture
of Jesus. The Saviour does more than
send down a rope. He comes Himself and
lifts us up. All those of us who are on the
way home, are like the sheep that had- been
lost, and are on the shoulders of the Good
Shepherd. Do not be persuaded to doubt
the power of Jesus. No pit of sinful habit
is too deep for Him. No defilement of
sinful pursuits is too filthy for Him to
cleanse. He is Omnipotent. "Mighty to
save." Saves to the uttermost, whatever that
may mean; God's "uttermost" cannot be
defined by mortal tongue. "Exceeding
ROPES AND RAGS. 213
abundantly above all that we ask or think."
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways."
Although Ebedmelech may be a very poor
type of Jesus Christ, he is a very good
picture of the style in which one man may
help another. He had sympathy. The
dusky-skinned Ethiopian had a heart that
could feel for another. His kind heart bled
as he thought of the suffering prophet. Now,
sympathy is the mother of help. If some
of those who read these pages will look
-around them, they will see numbers of per-
sons requiring assistance. For instance, see
what a crowd of people are in the dungeon
of poverty, and many of them deserve it no
more than did the prophet. Then there are
those who are shut up all their lives in the
sick chamber. All the brightness and glory
has faded out of their lives. The sun of
health has set, and will rise no more ! Be-
sides these, there are those who are in the
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darkened house of bereavement. For them,
there seems no hope ; they think they have no
right to smile : Joy is dead, and must be with
the shrouded dead for ever. And do we
not know of numbers who are in the dungeon
of doubt ? Giant Despair keeps on showing
them the bones of the prisoners he has slain
in bygone days. There are dungeons all
around us. Let us have sympathy for them,
lest we have to be taught in the same way
as Spurgeon tells us Bluff Harry was.
" The story goes, that Harry the Eighth,
wandering one night in the streets of Lon-
don in disguise, was met at the bridge-foot
by some of the watch, and not giving a
good account of himself, were carried off to
the Poultry Compter, and shut up for the
night without fire and candle. On his libera-
tion, ne made a grant of thirty chaldrons
of coals and a quantity of bread for the
solace of night prisoners in the Compter.
Experience brings sympathy ; those who
ROPES AND RAGS. 215
have felt sharp afflictions, terrible convic-
tions, racking doubts, and violent tempta-
tions, will be zealous in consoling those in a
similar condition. It were well if the great
Head of the Church would put unsympathis-
ing men, especially ministers, into the Comp-
ter of trouble, until they could weep with
those that weep."
Ebedmelech did not allow difficulty
TO DETER HIM. Some men can work hard
so long as there are no difficulties ; opposition
to them is like a hill on a jibbing horse ; they
must stop now : they " did not look for this
sort of thing, you know." Just so, the eunuch
found it was not easy — it never is — to undo
wrong. "A stout heart to a stiff brae," is
common sense as well as right. " If thou
faintest in the day of adversity, thy strength
is small." Ebedmelech knew that the enemies
of the prophet were unscrupulous, and would
not hesitate to cut his throat, but he did not
give up because of that. He said, " Ought
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Jeremiah to be got out ? because, if so, it
must be done, whatever may become of me."
If you, dear reader, want to have an easy
time of it, don't be persuaded to try to
do good. Let things drift on without your
interference, and you may drift too. It is
the easiest way to get along ; but we may
ride in a first-class carriage to the bottomless
pit. If you mean to help others^ you will
have to pull hard against the stream.
Ebedmelech teaches us to spare the
FEELINGS OF THOSE WE HELP. He lowered
down the old rags and clouts he had gathered,
and bade the prophet put them under his
armpits, so as not to have them cut by the
ropes. The rope of deliverance should not
cut the flesh of those we save. This is not
always thought of. We may wound men in
helping them, and they may like the remedy
less than the disease. We should think of
the feelings, as well as the wants, of those we
help. Kind deeds should be expressed in
ROPES AND RAGS. 217
kind words. Some well-intentioned people,
in trying to heal one sore, make another,
which cannot be healed. We say of some
really kind-hearted people, who have very
rough words to express kindly ideas, "their
bark is worse than their bite ; " but why bark
at all ? It is told of good Bishop Hooper,
that once when a penitent went to him in
great distress of mind, the bishop looked so
stern, and spoke so sharply, that the poor
man could not face him, but ran out of the
cell where the martyr was imprisoned, and
sought some one more kind and gentle.
Shall we not imitate Him of whom it is said,
" He will not break the bruised reed" ? When
we take the rope, let us not forget the old
rags as well.
Among the practical lessons of this story,
there is the great truth that ONE MAN MAY
SET OTHERS GOING. Ebedmelech went to
the king for help, and he gave him thirty
helpers. In the thirteenth verse, we read,
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« So they drew up Jeremiah." How many
times this happens ! Robert Raikes had no
idea how many wheels his would set in mo-
tion. Miiller of Bristol has many imitators,
and thousands of orphans are fed and clothed
that he will never know of. If you will only
begin, others will follow you. Don't be
afraid of being lonely. Nothing succeeds
like success. "To him that hath shall be
given." Perhaps,- if you don't start, others
will not. Not one of those thirty soldiers
would have cared to help Jeremiah if Ebed-
melech had not. The great mass of people
are not original ; they can imitate, and if you
can show them the way, they will follow.
Do not wait for others to start with you ; be
content to go alone. It was David Living-
stone that set Stanley and Cameron to work,
and the end of that lonely traveller's work
will be seen when " a highway shall be there
and the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
with songs and everlasting joy upon their
ROPES AND RAGS. 219
heads, and sorrow and sighing shall flee
away ; " but if Livingstone had waited for
others, he would have died, in comfort, it
may be, but could not have had a grave
in Westminster Abbey, nor have set in
motion the plans which are sure to issue
in Africa's deliverance.
Let us learn THE VALUE OF PESPISED
AND CAST-OFF THINGS. The prudent cham-
berlain had seen " under the treasury the old
cast clouts, and old rotten rags." No one
else saw any value in them, but he knew
where they lay, and put them to a good use.
What a number of men and things are cast
aside, like these old rags ! Do you see
yonder woman in such dismay ? What is the
matter? She has been upstairs looking at
some old dresses of hers, and finds to her
horror that the moth has been there before
her, and they are useless. Would it not have
been better to have given them to her poor
relations, or to that widow who has such
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difficulty to find clothes for her little ones ?
How happy those children would have been
if they could have worn what the moth has
eaten ! Have you not books you never read
which some poor pastor in some country
charge could coin into that which would
enrich his sermons ? Have you not old
magazines that would gladden the heart of
some of those intelligent paupers who never
get any lively reading, or save from ennui
some convalescent in the hospital ? Look
and see what you have " under the treasury."
It may be that some of those who read
this book feel as though they were useless in
the world — men and women who think their
chance is gone, and that they are like a cast
clout. Very likely the proud nobles of the
court thought so of Ebedmelech. He was
only " that old nigger," and yet he has lifted
himself into the Book of God ! Do you
think that all the colour has faded out of
your life, and your purposes are cut off?
ROPES AND RAGS. 221
Could you not find some one worse off than
yourself, to whom your face would be as that
of an angel of God ? Could you not nurse
the sick, help some weak and weary one,
and yet be a comfort to many ? Cowper
thought himself worse than an old cast
clout, and yet his hymns, especially " God
moves in a mysterious way," have helped
many a tried one to sing in the dark.
Ebedmelech found out that GOD PAYS
THE BEST WAGES. He was fearful that in
the meUe he would be slain ; but God sent
him word, by the mouth of the man he had
saved that, " Thou shalt not be given into the
hand of the men of whom thou art afraid,
but I will deliver thee." This, of all things,
was the best news he could hear, and to-day
God will pay men in kind, and so we shall
sow what we reap. " Light is sown for the
THE LOST AXE.
" The iron did swim." — 2 Kings vi. 6.
r I "HESE words describe something that
happened to the servants of God.
Iron does not swim for the servants of
evil. No such skill has their master, much
as he boasts But in how many instances
has the "impossible" been accomplished
by faith and prayer!
These young men appear to have been
divinity students, and the college was too
small for them. Elisha's ministry appears
to have been blessed much to the young.
He had the gravitating power, not merely
of greatness, but of great goodness. There
is something very interesting about these
THE LOST AXE. 223
young men, and especially in the adventure
spoken of in this chapter.
They were industrious. — Not afraid
of hard work. " Take thence every man a
beam." This building had to be put up,
and they felt they should like to work at
it themselves. It is a sorry thing for the
ministry when men enter it to be both idle
and "respectable." What can be a greater
curse than an idle preacher ? These young
men would not be likely to fall into that snare
of the devil, for they liked work. They were
something like a young minister the writer
has heard of, who, before he went to college,
was a coal-miner. He wanted books, so,
having some time on his hands during a
vacation, he determined to earn some money
for books by going down- into the mine and
hewing coal for a few weeks. It is well
for Christians when they have a reputation
for being good at work. Why should not
our employers say, "I have no one I can
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trust like that psalm-singer. ' Ever since he
has been what he calls converted, he has
been worth twice as much to me as he
was before " ? The grace of God ought to
get into every muscle of our bodies, so
that with one eye on heaven, and the
other on the earth, we shall be better
workmen than ever. These young men
took their axes, and every man was to
shoulder a beam. Such students would not
have shirked either their Greek or mathe-
matics if they had been in our colleges,
and the writer feels that he should like to
have a colleague from such a set as were
willing to toil as these men did.
They were self-reliant. — You do not find
them going to the prophet whiningly, and
saying, " Please, sir, will you call the Com-
mittee together, and ask them to get up a
subscription towards building us a larger
place ? " No, they believed in doing it them-
selves. These men could have told Samuel
THE LOST AXE. 22$
Smiles a thing or two in the matter of
self-help. They were self-reliant and earnest,
believing that God Almighty would bless
them if they laid their backs to the work,
and were bent on doing their utmost. Could
not the Church learn a lesson from the
world in this matter ? Look for instance
at yonder settler in the backwoods. He
does not wait for plans. His axe is his
architect, and if he marries, he likes to get
a woman who is a maid-of-all-work, ready
to milk the cow, if she can get one, and do
without milk, if her husband cannot afford
one, and who can help make a cradle as
well as rock it. These are the men and
women who are independent of Committees.
We want Christians who can show their
ministers how to do it, if they don't take
the lead themselves. Let us get to work.
If you want to be well patronised, patronise
But though self-reliant, these men were
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NOT BUMPTIOUS. — They were not "bad to
shoe," as they sometimes say in the north
of England. One of the mistakes of self-
made men is their bumptiousness ; they
think no one equal to themselves, and are
ready to sneer at all the folk who happen
to know who their grandfather was. Not
so with these students ; they said to the
prophet, " I pray thee be content, and go
with thy servants." Do you wonder that
he said, "I will go"? Old age likes to be
thought fit to go with youth. Why does
God keep people till they are old ? it is
that we younger ones should profit by their
experience. Let the young man who reads
this book never dirty his mouth with the
words " Old Fogey." Nor let him be too
quick to break home ties, and forget the
old folks at home. Your mother is your
mother, though the light has faded from her
eye and the furrows are across her forehead :
perhaps anxiety for you put them there.
THE LOST AXE. 227
When you have any new idea, see if you
can get old age to go with you to carry
your theory into practice. The same thing
holds good about books and old-fashioned
ideas. The men of to-day have something
to learn from the men of the past. Do not
too quickly exchange those old puritan
folios from your bookshelves for these
modern thinkers. And especially is this
true of the oldest of books, the Bible; and
never begin an enterprise for this world or
the next if the Bible does not say with
Elisha, " I will go."
These sons of the prophets were HONEST
IF POOR. — Poverty cannot always be avoided.
It has not been God's way to call only rich
men to be his preachers. The plough, the
loom, the awl, the fishing-boat keep sending
us the men who help to keep the pulpit above
mediocrity. And most likely it was so with
these students. While one of them was at
work with his axe, the head came off, and
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fell into the muddy stream. He was in
trouble about it, and called out, " Alas,
master ! for it was borrowed." If there had
been in that college one of those supremely-
respectable students who are too refined to
shoulder beams, he would not have been so
much troubled about the debt, but would
have written a polite note to the owner,
saying how sorry he was that there should
have been such an accident, and hoping
that it would not occur again. But he was
not there; such men never lose the axe-head:
they are not manly enough to take to tree-
It would be well for Christianity if all its
professors felt about debt as this man did.
It would be well for us if we could not wear
clothes that were not paid for. How some
of the tradesmen sneer at religion, because
they have names that are on the church-roll
on the wrong side of their ledgers. It is
not honest to order things which cannot be
THE LOST AXE. 229
paid for, and it is a kind of Antinomianism
that does untold harm for those who call
themselves Christians and yet feel no shame
for their debts. " Fine feathers make fine
birds," but if every young man who has
not paid his tailor's bills had to be stripped
of his unpaid finery, some would look like
unfledged birds. It is welPfor us, and a
sign of grace, when the word " borrowed "
calls up a sigh, and " alas ! "
Does not this story teach us THE DANGER
OF LOOSE THINGS? — The axe-head was loose,
and so flew off, and the wonder is that it did
not kill somebody. Supposing it had struck
the prophet, and slain the man of God ?
How terrible it would have been ; and yet
we see old men and women slain every day
by the loose habits of their children. Loose
habits, like our old clothes, fit us easily, but
they are dangerous. Loose company does
untold harm, — like some ship in an harbour
that has broken from her anchorage, and
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is dashed against the other ships, doing a
great deal of mischief before she sinks.
Loose tongues, too, which would be all the
better for St. James's bridle. Oh, fasten on
the axe-head, lest you do yourself or some-
body better a mischief.
What a great deal of TROUBLE is home-
made. If this man had seen to it that his
axe was fast before he began to chop at the
tree, the accident would not have happened.
Are not many so-called accidents the result
of carelessness ? Are not men and women
slain every day by the want of carefulness ?
Have we not trouble coming upon us that
might have been prevented by common
thoughtfulness ? Have we not sorrows in
our families which we have made ourselves ?
and home-made trouble, like home-spun
linen, wears for many a day. Very likely the
man would have said, " I did my best." We
have not done our best if we have a loose
axe. In the west of Yorkshire, the writer
THE LOST AXE. 231
heard a story of an apprentice lad who was
chided by his master for something he had
done stupidly ; the lad whimpered, " I have
done my best," and was told, " Ah want noan
o' thee best, Ah want thee to do reight." Let
us do right, and then we shall put a wedge
in all our loose axes.
Have you noticed how the axe was got tip
again ? — Iron does not swim without some
help. You cannot raise the fallen without
an effort. How was it done ? " Where fell
it ? And he shewed him the place. And he
cut down a stick, and cast it in thither, and
the iron did swim." "Example is better
THAN precept." He did not tell it to
swim, he showed it how. We have plenty
of preaching the gospel : we want men and
women to live it. One of the evils of
modern civilization is that large masses of
population are left without better example.
As soon as men improve their position they
go out. Is it any wonder that some parts
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of London are so rotten ? The salt has gone
where it is not needed so much. Singing
of hymns in some Mission Hall will not
attract and tell upon the neighbourhood like
the same hymn sung every day at family
worship would. If the world is ever raised,
it will be by the grace of God acting through
the Church upon the sunken masses. Has
not God showed us how ? Does He call
upon us to make a sacrifice He has not
done ? Jesus did not try to save the world
by remaining in heaven* He came down
to die, —
" Down from the shining courts above
With joyful haste He fled,
Entered the grave in mortal flesh
And dwelt among the dead."
What is the cross of Christ but the
casting in of the Branch ? Yes, this is
what has saved us. The cross has " drawn "
us up. There is a beautiful little sermon
in a verse Charles Wesley used to sing.
THE LOST AXE. 233
It is a sweetly evangelical paraphrase of
the story of the lost axe.
" Deep sunk in nature's base desire,
The sinful mud, the worldly mire,
What but the casting in of grace
■ The fleshly iron heart can raise ?
To heavenly turn my earthly love,
And lift my soul to things above ! "
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST.
Exodus xxxix. 8.
TT is more than likely that when Moses
heard the instructions given as to the
tabernacle and its splendid furniture, he would
be ready to ask, Who is to do the work ? The
commandment was given before the Divine
Being indicated how it was to be done. But
whenever God gives the law, He will give
the power to obey, and, in this way, com-
mandments become promises. All the time
that Moses was wondering, God was prepar-
ing. It did seem a real difficulty, the
finding of a man of sufficient artistic taste
and skill to do all the work that must be
done before God could be worshipped accord-
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST 235
ing to the ritual He had chosen. Who
would have thought of finding, amidst such
a horde of slaves as the people of God
were, the man needed for the work ? and
yet he was there.
It may be that this book may fall into the
hands of some young man who feels himself
very superior to his present circumstances.
You want work of a higher order. If you
are right in the estimate you have formed
of your abilities, God will give you some
better work. There is need, pressing need,
for men of culture and genius, and if you
serve God in the lower place He will call
you to higher work in His own time.
In His own time, mark you, for God is
in no hurry. We are, and wish to push on
the clock of time, but if we do so, it is but
for a moment ; the hand goes back again.
When the time had come for the Church to
take hold of India for Christ, there was a
man needed for the preparatory work,
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some one who had the kind of nature
which should enable him to plod on for
years, grappling with the difficult niceties
of the languages, and making the lexicons
and dictionaries for other and weaker men
to use. And God had the man in training,
but did not tell him what He had for him
to do. In an obscure village in North-
amptonshire, there was a shoemaker, who
also was a Baptist preacher. In that man's
heart there was a burning desire to go out
amongst the heathen. He felt that he had
powers which were superior to his position,
and that he could spend his time better
than in mending shoes, or talking to a hand-
ful of rustics who could not appreciate him.
One wonders sometimes if there was a sign
over his door —
Carey, Boot and Shoe Maker.
Before he died, he would have needed a
much larger one to describe his life work!
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST 237
Yes, we may settle ' it, that if Bezaleel
will remain in the camp, sooner or later
God will give him the carving of gold and
engraving of precious stones, and will bring
to him Aholiab and others who " are wise
hearted? "to make all that I have com'
Did you ever think of this breastplate,
as to its size and shape ? In Exodus xxviii.
we have a full description of this curiously
beautiful ornament. It would seem that
what the ladies would call the foundation
of it was composed of linen — purple, blue,
scarlet— with gold threads, all entwined
together. It was made so as to double
up when the dress to which it was fastened
was taken off It had four golden rings
one at each corner, the two bottom ones
being tied to two other rings, which were
inserted into the robe called the ephod.
The two rings at the top corners were
fastened to two golden chains, and the
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chains looped up to the two precious stones
which fitted like epaulettes on the shoulders
of the high priest. But the most splendid
parts of this ornament were the twelve pre-
cious stones, which were placed in four rows,
and on each of which was graven the name
of one of the tribes, so that each of the tribes
was borne on the breast of the high priest.
What a picture of Jesus Christ, as He is
in His glory! Aaron with the breastplate
is a type of Jesus, carrying the Church of
God on his heart. No type can teach all
the truth respecting Jesus, for Aaron did
not always wear the breastplate. He often
took it off. Not so with our High Priest,
who has entered into the heavens.
If you will take the pains to look into the
book of Exodus, you will find that there
is a very full description of this ornament,
and it is given twice over. It is evident
that we are to expect some lessons of
practical use to the Church in all ages, and
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST. 239
if we will look at this breastplate as a
picture of the Church, we may learn what
may be of use to us in the present day.
There were TWELVE stones, each of them
different, and each bearing a different name.
Not one stone, with a solitary name. What
VARIETY ! Shall we ever get one compre-
hensive community from which there can
be no dissent ? That has been the dream
of many an enthusiast, and the hope of
its accomplishment has made gentle hearts
able to tolerate the idea of persecuting
those who differ from them. So long as
the human race differs so much in mental
structure, we shall not be able to think
alike, even in those things which are spoken
of in Holy Writ. Baptism, for instance;
most Christian men are agreed that it is
obligatory : but what a difference of opinion.
One would baptize every child , another,
none but the children of believers, while
another cannot see why you should sprinkle
240 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
infants ; he would have none but adults,
or at least believers, and these should be
immersed ; while the so-called Quaker be-
lieves that water is not needed at all. To
him, baptism is altogether a spiritual thing.
What differences with regard to worship /
Some must have a form ; and who can- deny-
that many who use the book of Common
Prayer do so in the most devout spirit, and
not in vain, as their holy lives declare, for
their Father who seeth in secret rewards
them openly ? Others are shocked at the
idea of calling such worship prayer. They
can find no prayers like those which well up
from their own heart. They cannot use any
one else's words ; and you feel they are right,
so far as their own experience goes. One
man is not at home worshipping anywhere,
but in some venerable building, with its
long sweep of Gothic aisles, and never is
lifted so near to the angels as when the
paid surpliced choir is singing, " We praise
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST. 241
Thee, O God/' while another, equally faith-
ful, is aghast at the thought of any one being
paid for praising the Lord !
What difference i?i religions feeling and
experience ! We find some joyous, and
filled with holy enthusiasm, while others
are pensive and almost melancholy. Here
is one who likes to sing Charles Wesley's
joyous strains, while another is most at
home reading in secret Keble's "Christian
Year." Some tremble for the ark of God ;
others shout the battle-cry, and laugh at
the thought of defeat. We are not alike.
We are opposites of each other, and yet
differ only as the stones on the breast-
plate ; one is blue, another yellow, here is
a bright ruby, there a sparkling emerald,
while another is the colourless yet splendid
diamond ! But all on the same breastplate.
This brings us to another truth, — THE
UNITY OF THE Church. All differing, yet
all on the heart of Christ. Some of the
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stones were in the same row, though differing
in colour ; others were as far apart as possi-
ble, yet each on the heart of the high priest.
It is well for us to learn that each lover of
God is as near to His heart as any other
of His dear ones. There are great contrasts
in style and expression, both of doctrine and
ritual, perhaps never more so than to-day,
yet we are nearer together than we think
for. The High Churchman, who loves God
worshipping in his beautiful Cathedral, with
its stained glass and pealing anthems, seems
to be a long way from " the Brethren "
who, in some humble upper room, try to
reproduce the simple breaking of bread ; and
yet they are but at the opposite corners of
the breastplate, for they agree in loving and
reverencing the Christ of God. Charles
Haddon Spurgeon and Canon Liddon
differ vastly in many things, but it would
be hard to say which of them is the most
vehement in his hatred of sin, and the most
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST. 243
courageous in denouncing the vile thing
that dishonours God.
No one can mix much in the Churches of
Christ without perceiving, amidst all the
contrasts, the strong love there is for the
Master. There is unity in this, any way,
and this is the most important. If we had
persecutions as our heritage, there is not
one of the different sects but would furnish
its quota of men and women who would
go down to death singing in triumph.
Doubtless, before to-day, there have been
burned at the same stake men who differed
in some minor doctrine or ritual.
We get an illustration of the unity of the
Church when some enemy of God writes
a book which threatens to destroy the
foundations of faith. There and then, men
who differ much, yet agree in this, to sit
down and write some vigorous answer to
the common foe. The Temperance plat-
form is to-day what the Anti-Slavery plat-
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form used to be,_a sort of breastplate, on
which men may be found, wide apart in all
but love for God and hatred to sin.
Melancthon used to tell a story when
any sneered or sorrowed about the divisions
in the Church. " We are not so far apart as
you think," he would say. " Did you ever
hear of the time when the shepherds' dogs
quarrelled and fought? The wolves heard
of it, and thought that the time had come
for them to go down and take the sheep.
However, one wiser than the rest suggested
that one of their number should go first,
and see how matters stood. He came back
sooner than was expected, and was asked.
Are the dogs quarrelling? Yes. Well,
shall we go ? No, said he, for though I
htwnl them snarling and snapping as I
i\uuo down the hill, as soon as they saw
mo they i;ave up fighting, and came at
uu\ so that 1 had hard work to escape!"
Si> it i«; to-day. The enemy has only to
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST. 245
show himself, and men who differ amongst
themselves agree to drive him back. The
pity is that they do not see the need there
is, not only for the love of God, but the love
of the brother also. Let us learn from the
different precious stones being on the same
breastplate not to be vexed at the others
for not being the same colour as ourselves,
but thankful that He accepts us as well as
them ; and let us show our gratitude by
shining and sparkling as much as possible.
They were all precious stones ; not one was
mean or contemptible. God's Church has
ever been COSTLY. No jewel is what it
afterwards becomes when first found. Dia-
monds, before they have been in the hands
of the lapidary, seem of little beauty. But
they pay for the pains they cost. What
would poor human nature be but for what
God has spent upon it ? If it were not for
the love of God in Jesus Christ, we should
wonder that He should be so patient with
246 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
us, and that he bears with us in our educa-
tion and training. Yet when we think of
Gethsemane and Calvary, we can understand
all the rest. If God can so love us when
we are sinners, no wonder that He loves
us when we repent and believe on Jesus.
Shall not those of us who have been long
in the Church of God bear with the ignorance
and folly of those who have only just been
dug out of the mine ? Let not the stone
which sparkles in its setting sneer at that
which only looks like a pebble. The Master
has chosen it ; He knows that He has put
within its rude exterior that which only needs
time and skill to make it " shine as the stars
for ever and ever,"
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought
also to love one another." If God has chosen
us, who would yet have been pebbles but for
His grace that picked us up, and worked out
His design in us, shall we not love the rest
of His Church ? Other Christians are of
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST. 247
value to God ; the most lowly-born and
ignorant of His saints cost God as much as
the most wealthy or refined. Shall we not
feel rather ashamed when we get to heaven,
and see there some whom we would not
speak to on earth ? As we come in at the
North Gate, others will enter from the South.
We shall " sit down " with them in our
Father's house above : why should we not sit
down together in our houses below ? Pure
religion is to visit the fatherless and widows
in their affliction ; we shall be glad enough
to visit some of these in their mansions of
glory : should we not visit them now in their
cellars and garrets ?
If God sets such a value upon us, shall we
not set value upon ourselves. Not in the
way of pride or vainglory, but in the abhor-
rence of evil, and even in avoiding the
appearance of it. God having loved us and
set us apart for Himself, "let us cleanse
ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and
248 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of
Why were these precious stones put upon
the breastplate ? They were not on the
mitre ; no, they were upon the heart, teach-
ing us that the Church is beloved. We
need not then to envy John, that he was
allowed to lean on the breast of Jesus. Is
not every believer there ? If we do not hear
the beating of Christ's heart, it is because we
do not listen for it. One reason why we
allow ourselves to be brought into heaviness
is because we lose sight of the fact that God
is loving us as much now as when He
punished His Son for our sins. The love
of God is like everything else of His, not
changeable. You are loving One who ap-
preciates your affection, and who will not
waste your heart's love. Oh, how much love
is thrown away ! Men and women pouring
out their heart's chief treasure on those who
are altogether unworthy of it. If we loved
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST. 249
God with the same intensity that we often
love our fellows, how He would delight Him-
self in us ! Have you, in your readings in the
Prophets, marked how the Divine Being be-
wails the love which His chosen people have
wasted upon unworthy objects ? how He
yearn* to have back the »love they once
showed to Him ? And He is the same to-
day ; there is a mine of spiritual meaning in
the words, " I love them that love me."
And is there any way of learning to love God
like knowing His love to us? Think then
of the place you hold in God's affection.
You are on the heart of the High Priest.
You may have been under some misappre-
hension on this point, and have grieved over
what seemed His forgetfulness of you.
Do you see yonder woman, who is bidding
good-bye to her son ? He is leaving the
quiet farm-house where he was born, and
going up to London to a situation. His
mother has given him, as a parting present,
250 NEW COINS FROM OLD GOLD.
a locket with her likeness, for which he kisses
her. He promises to write every week, and
so they part. A few months roll past, and
every week comes the looked-for letter. But
one morning, the letter day, there is no
tidings, and the next, and the next ! Oh,
dear, what is the matter ? Can he have
forgotten me ? A few days more, and there
comes a telegram from his lodgings, telling
that the lad is very ill, and seems likely to
die. How soon the mother is gone ! She
arrives at the lodgings. Thank God the
blinds are not down! She is shown into
his room. He is insensible. Does not know
her ; but lies quiet, and yet; is in the grasp
of fierce disease. She sits awhile, and then,
mother-like, looks at his books and papers,
folds up his clothes. There is his watch and
pocket-book, but she does not see the locket.
It will be in some of his pockets. She looks :
no ; well, but in his desk, hid away under
his papers ? No ; can he have lost it ?
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST 251
How jealous she is as she finds cartes-de-
visite of friends and companions, but no
locket. She cannot ask him, for he knows
nothing. Ah me, my boy has forgotten
his mother, and has lost the likeness he once
kissed so fondly. But now he turns over,
and the anxious mother hastens to shake
his pillow, when, see, there is something
bright under his shirt, — yes, next his heart
is the locket, and he is more precious than
Believer, thou art on the breast of God ]
We cannot read with attention the de-
scription given of this type of the Church
without noticing the great pains which were
taken to keep it from being lost. It was
not only fastened to the shoulders by chains,
themselves as strong as they were beautiful,
but the bottom part of the breastplate was
fastened by two rings lashed to the two rings
which were put into the ephod for the pur-
pose of holding the ornament. Does not
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this tell us of the SECURITY of the Church ?
As we think of these chains and lashings,
how can we help thinking of one who said,
"Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ ? " You fear, dear reader, sometimes,
that you shall not be able to hold out to
the end. Think again : it is not you, but
God. " Perfect love casteth out fear." Not
merely your love, which in some sense can
never be perfect, but the love of God, which
is perfection. We wonder what became of
the breastplate. Did it survive all the
changes in Jewish history ? We do not
read of any other being made. Is it in
existence to-day ? Precious stones are not
like metals that could be melted down and
made into some other ornaments. So far
as we know, not one of these stones has been
destroyed. Did Titus carry the precious
thing to Rome, and has it been thrown into
the Tiber ? Or is it among the stores of
wealth in jewels possessed by the Turk ?
WORN ON THE HEART OF CHRIST 253
Constantinople has some rare and wondrous
jewels : has it the twelve ? We know not ;
but . we do know that Christ has said, " No
man shall pluck them out of my hand."
"They shall be mine, saith the Lord of
Hosts, in that day when I make up my
jewels." Still there is the thief; Jesus tells
us that he cometh to steal! Watch there-
fore ! It is most instructive that in the
same discourse Jesus speaks both of the
thief coming to steal, and the security of
those who hear His voice and follow Him.
The writer knew an aged disciple who
was wont to tell how, fifty years before,
she had been brought to Christ, and made
very happy in His love. Several other young
people had at the same time been much
impressed, and for a time bade fair to reach
the kingdom, but 'twas but for a season. To
her great surprise and grief, they went back
again. She was warned by the defection
of her companions, and at times filled with
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fear that she should " also go away." So
much did she feel it that one night, as she
was walking home over the fields, just as
she was crossing a dyke by a narrow foot
bridge, she kneeled down on the plank, and
clinging to the rail, cried mightily to the
Lord that He would keep her to the end ;
and so, fifty years after, she could rejoice
in the prospect of death. The golden chains
kept the breastplate in its place.
"My soul into Thy hands I give,
And if he can obtain Thy leave,
Let Satan pluck me thence."
THE BATTLE OF MICH MASH.
i Samuel xiv.
* I ^HESE were evil days for the people of
Israel. Their enemies, the Philistines,
had so subdued them that it was a crime to
possess a weapon of any kind. Nor was there
a smith to be found. If the farmer's plough-
share wanted sharpening, he had to take it
to the Philistines. But it was in these dark
days that Jonathan shone so famous. It
is yet true that difficulties prove our mettle,
and that the greater the hardship or peril,
the more is the victory worth telling. Poets
do not sing, though newspapers may print,
the account of some brilliant review ; but
let " the six hundred " obey, and snatch
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honour from the teeth of hell, and Tennyson
makes the deed immortal. The Philistines
were encamped on the brow of a cliff, and
were in a position which they fondly thought
was impregnable ; but the brave son of Saul
felt that he could not bear to see the foe of
his country, like some eagle on a lofty crag,
from which it could with ease descend to
prey upon the flocks.
The presence of the enemy should
ROUSE OUR COURAGE. Jonathan could not
allow the Philistines to be even at Michmash,
strong as it was, without striking a blow.
" What ! " said he, " shall these enemies of my
country continue to oppress us, and we sub-
mit to their tyranny ? It is true they are
very strong, but I cannot bear to see them
where they are, and not fight." Is there not
need for more chivalry among the soldiers of
Christ ? How sin lords it over us, even in
England. Intemperance, lust, cruelty, igno-
rance, are the enemies of our land ; and they
THE BATTLE OF M1CHMASH. 257
do almost as they like ; they are slaying
our people, starving our children, dishonour-
ing our women. Think, for instance, of the
history of one gin-palace. If we could have
the details of one year's crime and sorrow
produced by one such place, it would freeze
our heart's blood. Did the inhabitants of
any foreign country do us the same wrong,
our nation would be in a blaze ; armies
would be levied, the senate would vote us
money, and very soon that nation would
have to sue for mercy or fight for life.
Where are our Jonathans ? How can
they allow the Philistines to enslave us, and
to slay our children, without making greater
efforts ? If we could not tolerate the pre-
sence of an invading foe, if it would drive
us to madness to see the royal standard
of some other country wave over Windsor
Castle, how can we bear to see the arrogance
and cruelty of the enemies of Jesus Christ in
this so-called Christian land ?
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It was Jonathan who conceived the plan
of attacking the Philistines ; which leads us
to say — Princes should set the ex-
ample. It was not the armour-bearer who
was the first to speak. Jonathan said :
" Come, and let us go over unto the garrison
of these uncircumcised." If God has lifted
you, my reader, out of the ranks, demean
yourself accordingly. Officers, to the front.
It is a shame when a private has to lead
a forlorn hope ; and yet too often in Church
history we find the poor and the ignorant
more full of zeal for God than the rich and
learned. Have you wealth? — use it as be-
comes a prince of God. Are there not num-
bers of men who would be ready to fight for
God if they could be sustained ? You have
the means : use them for God and righteous-
ness. Have you learning? — use it to slay
ignorance. Could you not teach some of
those who are willing to fight, but do not
know the use of weapons ? Have you the
THE BATTLE OF MICHMASH. 259
gift of utterance ? Has God endowed you
with the kindliness of speech? Then why
be dumb, v/hen your voice ought to be ring-
ing out for the right and the true !
Why do not our Jonathans lead us forth ?
Why do they leave the conduct of the army
to those whom we cannot respect as we
should a prince? Set the key-note. "Lift
up your voice with strength." There are
thousands who, like the armour-bearer, only
want someone to say, " Come, and let us go
over," and they would spring upon the foe
with irresistible force. How the example of
Lord Shaftesbury has animated weaker men,
and made them feel like the armour-bearer
It is true that EARNEST LEADERS SHOULD
NOT LACK BRAVE FOLLOWERS. We are not
told the name of the young man who was
Jonathan's armour-bearer, but he was worthy
of the situation. Listen to him : "Do all that
is in thine heart : turn thee; behold, I am with
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thee according to thy heart? As if he had
said, " Look at me : do I look like flinching ?
If thou art first, I will be second ! I am
ready to follow thy lead : thou canst not go
where I will not be close behind." If Jesus
Christ could only have a Church like that
armour-bearer, how soon the victory would
be ours ! How many earnest ministers there
are whose hearts ache with vexation because
their efforts are not seconded by their
people ! In how many cases the superin-
tendent of the Sunday-school is sorely tried
by the want of punctual and painstaking
teachers ! Do we not know men who are
willing to preach in the open air, and yet
they must do it alone, — no one to help them
to sing, or to stand by them. Should this
be so ?
How pleased Jonathan must have been
with the answer of his armour-bearer ! How
much easier it was to climb the steep hill,
and to face the Philistines, as he thought of
THE BATTLE OF MICH MASH. 261
the brave man who was following. And it
is yet true that the best of leaders is all the
better for the knowledge that his followers
will not fail him. Let those of us whose
place is not to lead, yet help our commander
by acting, so that whenever he looks at us
he will see our faces say, " I am with thee
according to thy heart."
Jonathan knew that God CAN WIN BY
A MINORITY. He said to his companion,
" Tliere is no restraint to the Lord to save by
many or by few!' He remembered that God
had promised, " One shall chase a thousand,
two put ten thousand to flight." If, in fight-
ing the Lord's battles, we wait till we
outnumber the foe, we shall never "do
exploits." Joshua and Caleb were outvoted,
but they said, " Let us go up at once and
possess it." The twelve apostles did not
wait, but, in the teeth of the Sanhedrim,
preached " Jesus and the resurrection." The
Reformers were in a minority, but they made
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the world ring with their protests against
priestly arrogance and superstition. At one
time John Wesley was almost the only clergy-
man who dared the rotten eggs of the Philis-
tines of his day, and now he and his brother
have a monument in Westminster Abbey !
If you, dear reader, feel that God has
called you to do work for Him, begin at
once. Do not wait till you have an army
at your back : they may only hinder you.
Make a beginning, and remember that in
the work of God " there is no restraint to the
Lord." The fewer there are, the more room
for Omnipotence. The units of Christian
workers are the thin end of the wedge. Some
one must go first. Why should it not be you ?
At the battle of Michmash, we have been
taught that GOD HELPS THEM WHO HELP
THEMSELVES. Jonathan said to his com-
panion, "When we show ourselves, if they
say, ' Come up,' we shall know the Lord
means us to win." So they climbed up on
THE BATTLE OF MICH MASH. 263
their hands and knees, and after a while, the
soldiers saw them, and sneeringly said, " The
Hebrews come forth out of the holes." They
t'len cried out, " Come up to us, and we will
show you a thing." How Jonathan would
smile as he thought, " The Lord has delivered
them into our hand." Very soon he and
the armour-bearer were at the top, and the
light began. There were about twenty men
killed, and then came an earthquake ; — God
worked with the brave men who had gone
alone. This "trembling of God," as it is
called in the margin, struck a panic into the
hearts of the Philistines. So much so that
the Philistines lost their senses, and began
to fight one another, and when Saul arrived
on the scene he saw that " every man's
sword was against his fellow."
This might have happened if Jonathan had
not gone up, but most likely not. God works
yet by means, and delights in co-operating
with His people. If you want God to help
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you, help yourself. Climb up the hill in
spite of Philistinic sneers, and when you are
at the top, the earth shall quake. You will
not be alone very long. Saul brought his
army after the brave pair had gone alone,
and the number of Saul's people increased
directly, as you read in verses. 21, 22. The
enslaved Hebrews rose against their masters,
and these also who had hid themselves, " when
they heard that the Philistines fled, even they
also followed hard after them in the battle?
This is not said to their honour. Do not wait,
then till the enemy has fled, but turn the
battle by your bravery, even if it be by a
single hand. But let us give God the glory
of His grace. Whether we win by ones
or by thousands, let us sing, as we shall in
those glorious days when the enemy flees
only to fall into the bottomless pit, and
write it on the banner of the host,
" So the Lord saved Israel that day."